Richland Police Department Finding How Valuable Social Media Can Be

The Richland Police Department is trying something new.  

Yesterday when 5-year-old Antonio Aguilar went missing the department announced breaking news and made live updates via its social media pages.

Richland Police Officer Richard Kane said about a month and a half ago he started posting pictures of people who are suspects in crimes on their Facebook page, and the response he got from followers was astounding.

"I posted it this morning and within four hours I already had the individuals identity," said Kane.

He said these types of cases usually involve sending flyers to other agencies and could take weeks to solve.

Kane said the department has solved three of the 10 cases they have posted thanks to Facebook followers.

"You'd be amazed we get everything from aunts, uncles, brothers," he said. "I had one caller yesterday that said I recognize him I had that person in a drug rehab class."

Seeing how well this was working Kane said the department's next step was to use the page for breaking news and live updates.

He said after posting the news about Antonio Aguilar missing the page had 21,000 pieces of activity.

One person who saw the missing boy post called the department to say they thought they might have seen Antonio at Howard Amon Park.

That wasn't the case, but Kane said they would rather have community involvement than nothing at all.

"We would rather have a lead than nothing at all but you do risk that," said Kane.

On our Facebook page we asked what you thought about the police using social media and most seemed to be in favor of it.

Kane said he saw the same type of response when he posted a similar question to the Richland Police Facebook page and he will be keeping this up.