How Social Media is Changing Law Enforcement Strategy and Tactics

social media and law enforcementIn a society where almost every cell phone out there also has a camera attached to it — and in a world where the ability to upload those photos from a mobile device instantly to social media is increasingly commonplace — there is no question that law enforcement has had to sit up and take notice concerning the impact of this type of technology. One of the more complex questions has been whether to consider social media as a resource or a hindrance during the course of police work.

Consider the pro-social media as law enforcement tool argument, which sees the vast repository of Internet users as potential sources of crucial information about specific crimes. Releasing photos of suspects online in an effort to ‘crowd-source’ their location, or asking the public to submit photos and tips using the web or Twitter would seem to be a useful strategy for federal and local law officers working a case.

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