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Law enforcement Facebook page popular after "accidental launch"


STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) - More and more law enforcement agencies are utilizing social media to interact with the public. Portage County’s Sheriff’s Department is the latest agency to start their own Facebook page.

Chief Deputy Daniel Kontos says they will use the social media site as another avenue to communicate and also to interact with people. He says you’ll find different types of information on the site. “We did update our top ten warrant with a new person that was added on there. We put in the information for that subject and their photograph out there, and we intend on putting out items of public safety of importance to the public as far as being able to get through their day safely, and things that are happening around them that they ought to be aware of.”

Public safety announcements like amber alerts and missing persons reports will also be on the page.

Kontos says Sheriff’s Department staff had been working on the Facebook page, and the public actually found it before they were ready to publicly announce it. “The page was actually accidentally leaked out to the public. We didn’t intend on being out there until we had a chance to play with it for a while, but it did get out there. After a couple of days, we’ve already had over 500 that like the page.”

Sheriff’s Department staff has been updating the Facebook site either during breaks or after work, so it’s not costing the county money or taking time away from other duties.

Kontos says they’ve learned watching other department’s success with social media, and Sheriff John Cherowitz agreed it was time to do this. “Some other agencies around us have established Facebook pages. We have been following them with a bit of interest, and see that they have been successful in what they’re doing. We’re going to try to emulate what they do, and we’re going to try to give the public, not a substitute way of getting information because we will still use all of the traditional methods, this is just an additional way to do that.’

The Sheriff’s Department web site will also continue to offer information and services.