Perry Co. sheriff turns to Facebook to deter crime

Perry Co. sheriff turns to Facebook to deter crime
Published: Oct. 11, 2015 at 1:24 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 14, 2015 at 9:50 PM CDT
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PERRY COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Social media has become a great resource for law enforcement agencies and provides an outlet to reach out to the public for help in a case.

The Perry County Sheriff's Department is taking it one step further.

"If you're arrested and booked in our Perry County jail, you'll be on Facebook," Schaaf said.

Sheriff Gary Schaaf hopes their new Facebook tactic will make people think twice about breaking the law.

The department has over 6,000 Facebook followers and new mug shots are uploaded every day.

"Everybody wants to see who's in jail and what for," said Schaaf.

The department has been doing this for over a year.  Schaaf said it does not matter how big or how small the crime.

"People that are in jail don't want to have their picture on social media," said Schaaf. "It's kind of a deterrent there."

Schaaf said it's also helps create an open line of connection between law enforcement and the community.

"A lot of people calling down to tell us stuff too," said Schaaf. "Could you check into that? We have and we have found stuff.  In fact, we've found some things that were stolen and the person didn't even know it was stolen yet."

Sheriff Schaaf said the public's response had been positive, but not all residents agree with the new idea.

"I think it's a bad idea because people have been falsely accused of things and arrested before and sometimes it's over something minor," said Amanda Unterreiner. "And if someone is trying to change their life and they get arrested, you don't know the whole story."

"It's an embarrassment to the person that goes in there and the sheriff's department doesn't mind doing that to them," said Sarah Shrout. "There's been comments on there that say comments on these photos can be seen by over 6,000 people and there rubbing it in our face."

But now with an 80 percent clearance rate in the number of solved burglary cases, the sheriff's department doesn't plan to stop anytime soon.

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