Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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Niagara County Sheriff's ramp up social media

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Buffalo: Niagara County Sheriff's ramp up social media
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The Niagara County Sheriff's Office offered a glimpse of its operations Friday as part of a virtual road patrol on its social media. YNN's Katie Cummings went along for a ride and has more.

LOCKPORT, N.Y. -- Niagara County Sheriff Deputy Sean Furey was on routine patrol Friday night, but he wasn't the only one along for the ride. Facebook followers and Tweeters were watching as he made calls through a camera strapped to his vest.

It’s part of a virtual road patrol that the Sheriff’s office coordinated to increase traffic on its social media sites.

"The community can see what we’re doing, see the interaction we're having with people and how things react, how people react," said Niagara County Sheriff's Deputy Sean Furey.

While the Sheriff's Office has had social media accounts for some time, it had not put as much effort in previously. But officials noticed a spike in interest recently.

"Just during one evening of updating the public on the weather and hurricane sandy that we went from a hundred followers up to three thousand followers," said Niagara County Sheriff Jim Voutour.

Each call received was put on the sites along with photos and videos and other general photos of the Sheriff's Office's operations.

Sheriff Voutour says the virtual ride alongs have been successful in other states, like California.

"It brought a lot of the public into their social media sites so that they could help and use those sites to solve crimes in the future because the sites are only as good as how many people follow them," said Voutour.

The Sheriff’s Office hopes it will have similar success.

"We posted some periodic checks there tonight of some areas in the county where we are having some problems with crime and we are hoping somebody will read those and give us some suggestions on who to look at for that," said Voutour.

"People are afraid to answer up to us and speak to us and tell us what’s going on. this gives the public another opportunity to contact us and let us know if there's an issue they have in their community or if they've seen a crime committed, that they can report it," said Furey.

Voutour says Friday’s virtual road patrol was successful and he hopes to do it a couple times each year.

Eventually he says the Sheriff's office hopes to also include live video streaming.

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