Facing dangers of social media, police departments beef up security

Social media continues to plague police departments across the country. A police officer in Hamilton, New York, found a Facebook threat against a school on his personal page and informed the school’s principal. Police officers had to respond to the report before the incident was completed. If the threat was disseminated on Facebook, many people weren’t notified about it or thought the police were pranking them. Many schools had to delay the start of the day due to the heightened security, resulting in a lost school day.

“We are here to ensure the safety of kids and parents and the community,” Mark Rogers, Hamilton Police Department public information officer, said. “I believe social media has compounded our abilities.”

That announcement was unfortunate for a Campbell, New York, high school. A student added the words “spoiled” and “so f–king funny” to his cell phone photo of a handgun that was in a bag that he got from home and sent to school. The photo was immediately forwarded to authorities. The gun was a pellet gun, however, authorities found the gun on the student’s person.

“Our kids have good innocence and are trusting children will never do anything,” said Barbara France-Emile, a retired police officer and community liaison at the high school.

Armed officers were on hand at the high school and all other schools after the threat, but the threats have forced district administrators to be more vigilant. Schools in Pennsylvania are discussing their policy about social media threats.

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