220 Jewett Blvd, PO Box 218, White Salmon, WA 98672 | 509.493.2112
Facebook page proving to be a big help
February 26, 2013
By BEN MITCHELLThe Klickitat County Sheriff's Office may be a little late to the Facebook game, but the department's newly created Facebook page is already proving to be a hit with both law enforcement and the people they protect and serve.
On Jan. 30, the KCSO joined the other 1 billion-plus users of the nine-year-old social media Web site as part of an effort to forge better communication between law enforcement and the community.
"The Facebook page was a result of us trying to share safety tips and because of the more recent activity that's been occurring," explained Sheriff Rick McComas.
The "activity" McComas refers to is an increase in property crimes that have occurred in the central part of the county. McComas said the city of Goldendale experienced "a huge number of thefts and burglaries" last fall and that a rash of vehicle prowls in Dallesport last month resulted in the theft of items from a number of unlocked cars. He also noted the lockdown in Lyle School District last December as another prompt to open up an additional line of communication with the community.
In addition to the Facebook page, McComas said he has started appearing on Goldendale AM radio station KLCK 1400 every Wednesday morning at 7:45 a.m. to talk about crime in Klickitat County and request those with any information about criminal activities to contact the KCSO.
As a result of the Facebook page and the radio show, McComas said he has seen "suspicious persons" calls more than triple in the past few weeks as citizens of the county feel more inclined and have more opportunities to share their information with law enforcement.
"It's beginning to do quite well," McComas said of the page, which has received 76 "likes" since it was started by Chief Criminal Deputy Pat Kaley.
While citizens can use the service to report criminal activity, one of the main uses for the Facebook page is for the KCSO to get the word out about a variety of issues, including updates on calls, investigations, and information on winter driving and boater safety.
So far though, the most popular topic on the page has been the 2nd Amendment. McComas said that recently he has received an "overwhelming amount of inquiries about potential gun control issues," from citizens concerned about pending federal measures that would tighten gun control.
In response, McComas' position letter on President Obama's 23 executive actions to reduce gun violence was posted on the KCSO Facebook page earlier this month. While supportive of tightening background checks, increasing access to mental health services and other provisions outlined in the executive actions, McComas added in his letter that "recent national concern that has evolved in part by recent tragic events involving firearms should not be allowed to foster a movement toward restricting the rights of our citizens."
McComas' position letter has been by far the most popular post on the KCSO Facebook page, garnering 29 likes as of Tuesday morning. McComas noted that due to the success of the Facebook page, a KCSO Twitter account may also be set up in the near future.
To access the KCSO Facebook page, go to the KCSO Web site at www.klickitatsheriff.com and click on the "Follow us on facebook" link.