Hagerstown Police Embrace Social Media to Help Solve Crimes

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HAGERSTOWN, Md. - If it's Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, we're always connected at any hour of the day and now, police are using this connection to their advantage.

"It's just been a real, real eye-opener for us on how the community responds to the department through Facebook," said Chief Mark Holtzman with the Hagerstown Police Department.

This year, the Hagerstown Police Department created an internal social media team to monitor and update their Facebook and Twitter pages. They're using it to post community notices, investigation updates and Hagerstown's Most Wanted pictures.

Investigators said it's a way to communicate with residents in real time and use their feedback to solve crimes like robberies at a faster pace.

"Social media allows us to get that message out immediately, a lot of times asking for help from the public and then in return we get that information a lot quicker," said Lt. Jim Hurd, Criminal Investigations Division at the Hagerstown Police Department.

But with any form of social media the challenge is keeping up with next big trend. 

"Our Facebook community is different from our Twitter community," said Chief Holtzman. "It's going to be different than Instagram or something else that's out there. So it's just a matter of watching the trends and seeing what's really popular in our community and if it's worth out while to enter into that next platform."

Police said residents have embraced the department's social media presence and they hope to continue this kind of community engagement in the future.

"You want to engage your community," said Lt. Hurd. "The community is our partner and we can't do our job without the information we receive from the community. And that's, that's involved in every case."

You can like the Hagerstown Police Department's Facebook page here and their Twitter page here.


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