Law enfocement learning to deal with upside, downside of social media

Posted at 7:26 PM, Apr 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-18 08:59:50-04

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder, like many, is sickened by the events coming out of Cleveland.

“It's just made all the more egregious...that somebody would in cold blood murder somebody and then get on social media and brag about it,” he says.

“You see the worst of how a good technology can be abused.”

It's why the sheriff refers to social media as a double edged sword, one that has led to terrible moments, but also one that has revolutionized the way police work is done.

The platform is becoming a place to send out important warnings, or receive tips on crimes.

For example, Snyder says a mail thief in Jensen beach back in December was nabbed thanks to their followers.

“More and more, our social media expert is getting tips directly on our Facebook platform, so we have to adjust to that,” he says.

It has also directly led to the downfall of some criminals.

“They expose themselves by getting on social media and giving us a hint on where they are and what they're doing,” he says.

Sheriff's office spokesperson Christine Weiss monitors the department's social media pages.

She's says the technology helps, but also says the connectivity, ironically, can often leave people less connected.

“If someone has a tip or something that really needs urgency, they need to pick up the phone, rather than use social media,” she says. “I think that is, for my purposes, one of the downsides I see.”

Good or bad, the sheriff says it's the new normal.

“When you talk about social media, it's the best of times and it's the worst of times,” said Snyder.