Law enforcement: Call 9-1-1 instead of posting crimes to Facebook

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Police are urging residents to stop reporting crimes on social media.

Local 8 News Anchor Lauren Davis spoke with a local sheriff's department about people reporting crimes online, and what citizens can do to better help their law enforcement offices.

Corporal Billy Hall monitors Loudon County Sheriff's Office's social media pages, including their official Facebook, Twitter and Next Door accounts.

He's noticed a lot of people taking to Facebook instead of 9-1-1 to report incidents. Hall said he gets at least five messages a day, and sometimes two or three in the middle of the night.

"We get calls about disturbing the peace, speeding dogs at large, cow out here, and tree across the road," Corporal Hall said.

He responds back to messages like trees down and then dispatches the county road department. If it's a crime, he has to refer them to the 9-1-1 center so they can dispatch an officer.

"If you have an emergency, make sure you call 9-1-1," he said. "There's no social media sites monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

He also says a lot of people post pictures of a crime to social media.
Hall reminds you to make sure you contact police before you post any pictures or videos.

"If you have pics or video, report the crime and ask if it's okay to post it because you don't want to post anything that could hinder the investigation," Hall said.

Corporal Hall says social media has helped in a lot of ways, but it's not a way to report a crime. Remember, you can remain anonymous when you call 9-1-1.