More and more people are turning to social media for business as well as social reasons. And now the Altoona Police Department is using Facebook to fight crime and it's getting results.
Sergeant Brian Freiwald started putting a lot more information on the department Facebook page in late September. More than four thousand people "Like" the effort. And the police like the results. Several people have turned themselves in to police because they saw themselves on Facebook.
The Altoona Police Department posts pictures of wanted fugitives, gives out tips for people to protect themselves, and lets people know about crashes and roads to avoid. And Facebook fans helped them in the recent arrest of Aaron Dishong. People sent police information about Dishong through Facebook within about 10 minutes of police announcing he was a suspect.
The page also let's them connect with people in the community. Police recently found a lost puppy and posted a picture of it online. Through Facebook there was a happy ending and the dog was reunited with the owner. People from as far away as England commented on the APD Facebook story.
Sergeant Freiwald stressed Facebook can't replace 911 for an emergency. But it is a great tool to give out information to a lot of people all at once.
The Altoona Police Department is the only one in our area using Facebook like this. State College and Richland Township both have pages but they don't use them like Altoona does. Freiwald is happy to talk with other departments about how they set up their page.
Click Altoona Police Facebook to go to their page.