Social media has become so pervasive in our daily lives that we hardly even realize it. It’s everywhere. On our television, on billboards, in magazines and well, everywhere. There is a lot of good that comes from social media, but it also brings a lot if negatives. For law enforcement, it has been a game-changer.
The 3 Forensic Horsemen
Social media is part of what I refer to as, “The 3 Forensic Horsemen.” Three main themes in criminal investigations are Internet Records, Cell Phone Records, and Surveillance Video. It has become an invaluable tool as suspects continue to post their exploits on social media as electronic breadcrumbs for the cops to follow. It’s not rocket science, however, having strong department policies and procedures on how to use it is paramount.
The police always seem to adopt new technologies slowly. However, in the current environment, they do so at their own peril. It’s no longer a case of falling behind the electronic curve. Now, social media has been wielded as an anti-police weapon designed to bombard those amongst us who aren’t centered. I don’t think there is a person that uses social media hasn’t been angered or even horrified at what passes for free speech. The overwhelming majority of us has the ability to think and act rationally. However, there are many amongst us that cannot.
In December 2014, a gunman executed two NYPD cops as they sat defenseless in their patrol car. The perp cited recent police shootings and posted his intentions on social media. We saw social media play a role in the massacre in Dallas, Baton Rouge and now again in New York City. Each time, social media has played so sort of role in the killings of police officers. Whether it was actual posts or by the constant bombardment that the “police are the enemy.” Nothing could be further from the truth, but those with opinions are louder that those with facts. This is another byproduct of social media.
I had an opportunity to sit down with the Pix 11 News Morning Show and explain how social media has changed law enforcement, both good and bad.