Wisconsin Police Departments are turning to social media to catch suspects and solve crimes.Madison is just one on a long list of Wisconsin police departments to launch a Facebook page.
Captain Sue Williams says community members have been asking for one and that communicating via traditional media is becoming less effective, "It is the way that people are getting information about what's happening in their communities now, and social media is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to communicate that information. So it's just really to try and find all the different avenues to communicate."
Williams says Madison is using Milwaukee's Police Department's Facebook page as a model and hopes to use it to solicit tips from the public about crimes. Spokeswoman Anne Schwartz maintains Milwaukee's department page and travels across the country training police officers to use Facebook and Twitter. Schwartz says the sites have been invaluable in Milwaukee, "There have been a couple of cases of missing persons that we have put up and there have been a couple of situations where we have been looking for a hit and run, and getting that information up across the board was very helpful to us. Uh, In fact when we were looking for a subject who had been sexually assaulting women, we were able to find the suspect because someone was able to go on Facebook and saw a sketch that they thought looked like someone they knew."
Captain Sue Williams in Madison says the department's page will be live early in January. Police officials say Wisconsin departments are starting to put Facebook and Twitter information on squad cars.