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OUR VIEW: Kudos to MPD for its use of social media

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opinion Mitchell, 57301
The Daily Republic
(605) 996-5020 customer support
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Kudos to the Mitchell Police Division for getting creative to solve a crime that occurred recently on Main Street.

After vandals damaged property in the neighborhood of the Corn Palace, Mitchell police turned to social media for help. Turns out, video cameras at the Corn Palace caught the perpetrators on tape, and police posted that video in hopes of learning more about their identities.

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Sure enough, it worked.

Now, we hear that the Police Division is taking some heat for this tactic. Thursday, the department issued a statement, acknowledging that some Facebook users were questioning the process. The statement said that "we are not asking the public to 'do our jobs' but simply asking for help in finding tips, information and leads on crimes that will help us be better able to work toward solving crimes in the community, getting restitution for victims of crimes and holding offenders accountable."

People who are questioning this method are, simply, nuts. The Police Division should use any and all means legally possible to track down lawbreakers, and we wholeheartedly appreciate this most recent tactic.

Actually, we feel the police could have taken it even a step further, and offered the video clip directly to the media. We would gladly have posted it to our very powerful website (and did after the fact), which is viewed by more than 50,000 people per month. This week, we extended that invitation to local police, and we extend a similar invitation to other law agencies in the Mitchell region.

Cops are supposed to prevent crime. If a crime happens, it's their job to find out who did it.

In the end, they work for us, the public. So we don't find it lazy or irresponsible that they ask for the public's help in solving cases.

In fact, we rather like the idea.

Keep it up, Mitchell Police Division.

And for anyone who is critical of the MPD's use of Facebook, consider what you're really saying. You're giving police a hard time for catching criminals that knowingly and wantonly did damage to innocent victims' property.

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