EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSSOCIAL MEDIA INVESTIGATIONS
from Eyewitness News Online
Law Enforcement Getting Unique Training On Preventing, Solving Social Media Crimes
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: Troy Morgan
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Aug. 8, 2012 8:48 PM EDT
Updated: Aug. 8, 2012 9:18 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Good old fashioned police work has taken on a much different role with the explosion of social media.
That's why the National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance is hosting an event that can teach investigators how to solve crimes with the click of a mouse.
Call it a sign of the times, but social media has not only made it easy to update personal information in an instant, but it's opened doors for criminals who no longer hide in dark alleys to get the information they need to carry out a crime.
"A lot of our crimes now, computers are playing a prominent role in them," explains West Virginia State Police 1st Sgt. Michael Baylous.
The internet is a one stop shop for criminals to carry out elaborate plans from the security of their living rooms. Organizers say it's more important than ever for police to know how to protect the innocent and prosecute who's on the other side of the screen.
"We're teaching investigators how to use social media, not only to help prevent crime but to help them solve crime," explains West Virginia State Auditor Glen Gainer.
The Raleigh County Sheriff's Office and the Beckley Police Department is co-hosting the event. They are bringing in Lt. Chuck Cohen, an 18-year veteran with the Indiana State Police. He's also the Commander of the Special Investigation and Criminal Intelligence Sections and also serves as the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Commander.
He'll work with more than 150 investigators from across the state, opening their eyes and minds to the opportunities for law enforcement that didn't previously exist.
"Everyone's posting pretty much everything to the web about everything they do, and because of that investigators can now utilize that information that they're posting online to solve crimes," explains Jeremiah Johnson, a Computer Crimes Specialist with the National White Collar Crime Center.
Whether it's tracking down a child predator, locking up a drug dealer who's posting pictures of his stash, or using information posted by would-be criminals to stop crimes, the training will show police how to utilize more than 500 known social networking sites.
"Criminals are still going to do what they do best and share information between other criminals," says Johnson.
"It's amazing what they can find out and the evidence they can turn up for an investigation," says Baylous.
The class is still open for law enforcement. It will be held on August 16th at the Erma Byrd Education Center in Beaver.
To register, log on to www.nw3c.org.
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