Social media helping police save lives and fight crime

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GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- More law enforcement agencies across Texoma are using social media to inform the public, even help them solve crimes. News 12 spoke to two police departments who tell us how they are making Facebook work for them.

Social media sites, like Facebook, are doing more than keeping the public informed they have become a life saving tool for law enforcement.

"We're able to push a lot of information out in a timely manner, and a lot of times that's helped with when we've had missing elderly individuals, children, or even whether events," Chief Tim Barnes said.

Van Alstyne Police Chief Tim Barnes says social media has also become key for informing residents.

"Road closures. a lot of time when we have crashes we'll post on there when we have traffic delays," Barnes said.

Residents we spoke with say they like to know what is going on.

"It gives us a way to kind of know what's going on with the community. It gives them a way to kind of know what's going on with the community as well as a way for the community to interact with the police department," Tyler Salmon, a Van Alstyne resident, said.

Howe Police uses Facebook for those very same reasons, but also to share arrests they have made.

"It's all public information and I think the good citizens do want to know. They want to know who's committing the crime in their neighborhoods. They want to know who's driving drunk," Chief Carl Hudman said.

It can also be a deterrent to would be criminals.

"I think you know that if people don't want to be noticed in that sort of way it could be a motivation to stay out of trouble," Hunter Shaw, a Howe resident, said.

Whether you agree with law enforcement's use of social media or not the departments we spoke with say communicating with the public is helping make their city a better place.

"By putting it out there where they're always looking anyway we're apt to obtain information that's going to help us solve crime," Hudman said.