Social media becoming powerful tool for Fayetteville police

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — Fayetteville police say social media is becoming one of their most vital tools for solving crimes, saving lives, and breaking down barriers with their community.

The Fayetteville Police Department uses the big-four social media applications. Fayetteville Police Officer Asia Cannon and Sergeant Shawn Strepay maintain the departments Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

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“(Hurricane Matthew) was really a defining moment for us with social media,” said Strepay.

During the storm, the Fayetteville Police Department broadcast via Facebook Live the dangerous road conditions. The broadcast included video Cannon shot on her phone while patrolling flooding streets.

“We were able to keep these people informed and they thanked us so much for that,” said Cannon.

One video of officers rescuing a family stranded on top of their car in flood waters has 2.8 million views.

Strepay says in one day the Fayetteville Police Department’s Facebook page got 11,000 new likes — growing their audience by about 20 percent.

Since then, the department says social media has helped them solve crimes, save lives, and break down barriers with the community.

“It opens that door to the community,” said Cannon. “They feel comfortable sending us messages, and asking us questions, and they also feel comfortable sending us information about crime going on in their area. And we just hope to keep growing that program,” she added.

In the next few weeks, Fayetteville police say they plan to unveil their own mobile application.

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