Posting about the location of police during an active incident can put everyone involved at risk and could result in the suspect evading capture. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

About to post a police chase photo to Instagram? Maybe don’t, cops say

Posts could be seen by a suspect and may result in them targeting officers or evading capture

You may not be aware, but you play a role in helping police during incidents such as manhunts and active shooter situations. Not only does the public’s cooperation help police, but extra attention to what gets posted online during the incidents can help keep everyone involved safe and keep suspects from getting away.

Social media has changed the game for police in many ways. The police now use it alongside traditional means of communication to convey information to the public. However, it isn’t always helpful.

“We would ask that the public not display or share the location of police officers on social media [during active incidents],” said Det. Sgt. Damian Kowalewich from the Saanich Police Department.

READ ALSO: VicPD warns downtown visitors not to leave valuables in car after large theft

Every situation that police deal with is different, Kowalewich explained. He was an active shooter incident instructor for many years and has lots of experience with dangerous, active incidents.

With training and planning, police are able to quickly assess an incident and decide how best to handle it, he said. This includes whether or not the public should be asked to stay away, how large the containment area should be and where best to station officers in order to remedy the situation successfully and safely.

While the police can’t force the public not to post on social media during an active incident, there are several reasons why it’s best to help the police by being careful about what gets posted online during an active police incident.

The location of police officers is strategic and purposeful to ensure success, said Kowalewich. The goal is to keep the public and the officers safe and arrest dangerous people. If a photo showing the location of police or a post about what they’re doing goes online, the person or people they’re attempting to apprehend could be tipped off. Then, the suspect would know how to avoid the police and evade capture or target the officers.

READ ALSO: West Shore RCMP arrest man with machete near recreation centre

While some may be aware that it’s unsafe to post about police presence during an active incident, posts about the location of traffic control officers are common online because in a way, it’s harmless. The goal is to warn others to slow down in the area because police are watching. However, this is also not advised, said Kowalewich, as dangerous drivers may not be caught because they’ll modify their driving while passing the officer but go right back to speeding later.

“Don’t let people know where we are because we’re there for a reason,” Kowalewich explained. “Give us our space and let us do what we need to do. It’s all about having a successful outcome and a non-violent outcome.”

So keep the details to a minimum, or save the photos and social media posts for after the incident is resolved.


@devonscarlett
devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

RCMP urge caution for back to school drivers

Police are asking drivers to slow down and watch for pedestrians

Traffic accident on Highway 1

Hour long backup from Abbotsford to Langley

Chilliwack encouraged to commemorate liberation of Holland

Planning already underway to mark the 75th anniversary of the event

Speth to take oath of office at special school board meeting

Speth is the newest trustee to join Fraser Cascade school district

Sts’ailes invites adults to become engaged in Halq’eméylem with new video series

‘Qw’oqwel te Qw’oqwel’ gives language learners an immersive way to learn Halq’eméylem

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Memorial to deceased teen stays in place through Labour Day

Hundreds of tributes have been left at the Walnut Grove skate park

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

Most Read