Does social media help or hinder an investigation?


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Many would agree that social media has become second nature to most people and during an active shooter situation, law enforcement say it can both help and hinder an investigation.

“At the time of an active violent situation it’s kind of a double edged sword. It’s obviously giving us information as to what’s going on but it can also give everybody else the information and what they do with that kind of remains to be seen,” said Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth.

Three days ago, havoc unleashed at a school in Parkland, Florida leaving 17 people dead and many others wounded.

Video filmed by a student inside a classroom was captured as gun shots rang out.

In a traumatic circumstance like this, it begs the question if video from a scene can benefit law enforcement during an investigation.

Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth says any evidence helps as long as it’s “accurate” and “timely.”

“The time it would hinder us is if it’s going out live, if someone is Facebook live’ing an active shooter situation at a school, that’s going to create that panic with those that are watching it,” Sheriff Wriggelsworth stated.

All law enforcement say a person’s safety is top priority and while Michigan State Police Trooper Daniel Heatherly agrees that any social media evidence can help move a case forward, he says he doesn’t recommend using it when a situation is still chaotic.

“If you’re concerned about social media or you’re concerned about putting stuff out there you’re not worrying about taking cover or doing what you can do to protect yourself,” said Tpr. Heatherly.

Heatherly also says the suspect could be watching.

“There’s a very good chance that the suspect who is committing the crime could be following what is being said or what is happening and he could very well take action,” Tpr. Heatherly stated.

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