In the age of social media, we’ve seen raw realities emerge without any filter — posts may contain too much information or can be completely false.
In an effort to bring light to the modern day issue, police in Washington asked the public to be careful about tweeting during shootings and manhunts as part of the “TweetSmart” campaign. The Associated Press reports that a coalition of nine agencies in Washington want to raise awareness that leaking information like positioning or number of officers could be harmful to law enforcement.
The Oregon State Police doesn’t have a campaign, but agrees with the guidelines that Washington State Patrol and Seattle police published last week.
“We support their efforts, but we’re not trying to censor anyone,” said Lt. Gregg Hastings, public information officer for the Oregon State Police. “Think before you tweet, especially during live tactical situations.”
Hastings says that social media has been a great tool for officers and the public alike in getting emergency information out quickly. He manages the statewide news releases. Police find social media helpful because it allows them to release information to the public that is factual, while controlling the flow of that information. Hastings says larger counties have at least one person dedicated to updating social media handles.
“We think it’s important the people are aware of incidents,” said Hastings. “Just think before you send out information and images.”