WATSEKA, Ill. (WCIA) — A lot of people turn to social media when they have an issue, but Watseka Police Department said when it comes to talking about a crime, you should stick to calling 9-1-1.
Police Chief Jeremy Douglas spoke at Watseka’s public safety hearing on Tuesday. He asked for people to stop waiting until they get home just to get online to talk about a crime.
Police said getting tips through Facebook is a growing trend, but it’s not as helpful as people think it is. Watseka police officer Quincy Spears said countless hours are lost chasing down tips that often lead nowhere.
“We always try to follow up with those types of allegations. One to see if it was valid. Or if it was something, we know some people just like to keep things moving and there’s really no basis to it,” said Spears.
Spears said posting about suspected crimes does more harm than good. He said taking to social media instead of calling the police gives the department a bad reputation and it often delays the action that can be taken by law enforcement.
“If something happens right now, by the time we hear about it know we’re behind what they call the 8 ball, now we have to double-time versus if we knew about it right then,” said Spears.
He wants to be clear: police can still use social media in their investigations. The problem is when people don’t contact authorities first.
“Please, please call us so we can do our jobs and get you the justice that you want and the service that you need. A friendly face is going to come to your door no matter what. You call 911, we’re coming,” said Spears.