MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - “Like us on Facebook.” That has become a common phrase in modern lexicon, and is now finding its way into a friendly cyber-war among Mid-South law enforcement agencies.
Here’s why everybody should “like that.”
You should like it because law enforcement’s usage of social media translates into increased safety, keeping everybody more informed and aware.
Still, when it comes to who likes who, who’s counting? It turns out, pretty much everybody.
“It is a significant number for us,” said Chip Washington, “and something we are really proud of.”
Washington is a spokesperson for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. The number to which he was referring was the more than 11,500 “likes” on the SCSO Facebook page.
That total supplanted the Olive Branch Police Department, the Mid-South law enforcement Facebook leader.
“We’re really proud of Shelby County,” said OBPD's Major Tim Presley, “They have worked really hard.”
While the goal of all law enforcement agencies is the same, when it comes to Facebook there is a friendly rivalry.
"We have to say that they have a bigger fishing pond than we do as far as attracting fans. So it is hard to compare us to a big sheriff’s department like that,” Presley said.
The SCSO does give props to Olive Branch, admitting it has borrowed design elements for its own Facebook page, all while keeping the true purpose for using social media in the forefront.
Washington said, “If we need something out quickly and we need reaction quickly, we go to our Facebook page.”
Presley offered an anecdote as an example of just how fast Facebook can help catch bad guys. He recounted the time a chase was ongoing for a suspect in the Hack’s Cross area.
“That suspect went into a building where he acted like he was filling out a job application. The girls inside had seen on Facebook we were searching for a guy of that description and called us. We were able to apprehend him as soon as he left there.”
So, Facebook is fast, efficient and both the Shelby County Sheriff and Olive Branch Police have over 11,000 “likes.”
“This has never been a competition,” Presley told abc24.com.
“This is an informational tool,” Washington said, “not only for us, but for them.”
Still, maybe it is just a little competitive.
“I think for Olive Branch with 34,000 people,” said Presley, “we’ve done well.”
They have done well. Presley’s most recent research revealed Olive Branch had the fifth largest municipal police Facebook page in the country.
So, do the math; that puts the SCSO in the top five as well.