(KYTX) - Law enforcement is here to keep us safe, and social media is now helping them do that job better!
Lots of local agencies are relying on social media to communicate with the public.
"We live in a world now where people can talk to each other instantly, and with law enforcement that can be very valuable, not only to those who work in law enforcement but the public who's trying to get info to us," says Smith County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer John Moore.
Moore says the smith county sheriff's office's goal is to establish trust.
"To be open about what is going on, whether it be good or bad. Recently one of our own was arrested for a felony," Moore says.
Right after the arrest, Moore posted on the Sheriff's Office Facebook page about what happened, for all to see.
"It provides a means for this office and for any law enforcement agency to communicate instantly, to be transparent, and I think that's what taxpayers should expect!" he says.
Plus, instant communication means speedy crime solving.
"We know for a fact that this is effective because it doesn't take long many times between when something is posted out on Facebook and Twitter before someone says, 'I just saw the guy,' and then we go out and arrest him!" Moore says.
Longview and Kilgore Police Departments are known for their use of social media.
"I think that engages the public to contact the police department when they feel that they need to," says Longview Public Information Officer Kristie Brian.
It's a new and effective level of communication between East Texans and the people hired to protect them.
The Smith County Sheriff's Department is also about to launch an online program called TIP 4-1-1. It will be like an online version of crime stoppers, and will ensure that you can remain anonymous.
Moore mentions an important reminder: Social media is a great tool when it comes to law enforcement, but it is not the way to report an emergency. If you're having a true emergency, pick up the phone and dial 9-1-1.