Digital Detectives: Police take to social media to close cases

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. -- In a time where everyone is glued to social media, police are getting creative.

“We need all the help we can get in police work and we are going to evolve and change with this,” explained Sergeant Jacklyn Davis, with Anne Arundel County Police.

According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 96 percent of police departments nationwide use social media. 

Sergeant Davis said, for the first time, just by posting a picture and clicking a button, detectives have access to millions of people, and potential witnesses at their fingertips.

“That is a ridiculous number of people that’s eyes are on things, sharing our videos, sharing our homicide flyers.  We are getting information out so much quicker now and to such a wider reach than we were when we would post a flyer in a convenience store window,” expressed Davis.

Tuesday morning, Anne Arundel police posted multiple surveillance pictures on their Facebook page, using the hashtag #DigitalDetectives.

In one post in particular, officers were asking for the public’s help identifying a man who police say robbed a taxi driver after being picked up at Greenbelt Metro Station on Black Friday. 

Anne Arundel Police Department has been using social media as an investigative tool since March 2015. As of November 2016, detectives had closed at least 61 cases based on Facebook and Twitter tips. 

“People are very loose-lipped with the key board, they feel safer because they are in the comfort of their own home. They can easily send a private message which has really, really helped us close a lot of our cases,” said Sergeant Davis.