Police departments utilizing the power of social media

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Imagine catching a criminal without having to leave the office.

Right now, several of our local law enforcement agencies are doing just that on social media with your help.

Posts from local sheriff's offices and police departments fill your Facebook feed.

And, this kind of virtual outreach is not just about stopping crime...it's about bridging the gap between officers and the public.

"It's become a really successful tool for us and it's one that we embrace and we utilize when we can," said Sara Nenninger with the Cape Girardeau police department when talking about social media.

"It's more than the 80 pairs of eyes we have here at the police department," said Nenninger.

That's why she posts pictures and videos on social media of people they are trying to locate or identify.

"Once we do that it's within 24-48 hours that we have them located and in for questioning," she said.

But she doesn't only post serious things like alerts and warnings.

"We try to show that softer side and really try to engage our community with us and it's paid off," said Nenninger.

"I think it personalizes us a little bit," said Police Chief Wes Blair.

He said he's seen a change in the community's mindset once they make this kind of online connection.

"When people see that they have the opportunity to assist us in one way or another through the social media that they are going to jump on that because then they feel  like they are doing something good to help the community, and they are," said Blair

"Our community stands behind us and they are there to support us," said Nenninger.

She said they only post serious alerts like homicides, robberies and burglaries.

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2017 KFVS. All rights reserved.