The Kettering Police Department’s Facebook page has become so popular that people are beginning to report crimes on it — something that officers are strongly encouraging the public not to do.
“Our page is not monitored 24 hours a day,” Kettering public information officer Ron Roberts said.”If you need a police officer to respond and investigate, our Facebook page is not the appropriate place to do that.”
Three crimes were reported to Kettering’s Facebook page last weekend alone. None of them rose to the level of a felony. In one case, a bystander spotted someone on the roof of the vacant video store at the corner of Bigger and Andrew roads. In another, a motorist reported a child riding on a motorcycle without a helmet, which is against the law. In the third case, a resident reported what was described as a “loud party” on their street.
Roberts was quick to point out, however, that parties can sometimes get out of control. And police could have responded as a precaution.
“That party could have led to something more,” he said. “It didn’t, and that’s a good thing. But you still need to call the dispatch center.”
Bob Cornwell, the executive director of the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association, said these contemporary concerns are reflective of “society’s dependence on technology.
“There are a few sheriffs with Facebook pages,” Cornwell said, “but I haven’t heard of anyone reporting crimes there.”
Bruce Gard, a Kettering resident, said he would never think to report a crime on Facebook.
“I think people tend to go with the newest thing,” he said. “That seems to be the answer and maybe that’s why people do it.”
Paul Sakos, another Kettering resident, said it was a way of “deferring responsibility.”
Roberts said he and two other officers have access to KPD’s Facebook page. He said that although more people are using Facebook for different reasons, it’s imperative that people continue to call police dispatchers if they witness a crime in progress.
“I get email alerts,” Roberts said. “But if you’re posting at 3 a.m., I’m not going to get that immediately.”