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

Orangeville Northmen are through to Minto Cup lacrosse championships in Langley

With Coquitlam out of contention, junior A Victoria and Okotoks face a semifinal match Monday

LETTER: Grow your own corn, build on farm land – one man’s opinion

Develop residence in the Lower Mainland, focus farming in the Okanagan and Similkameen

UPDATED: Abandoned house blaze worries Langley neighbours

Redevelopment area of Willoughby attracts squatters and partiers, and fires fear area residents

GREEN BEAT: Langley prof witnesses a desperately dry country

The current drought in New South Wales is being called one of the worst ever, B.C. is so fortunate

Fighting cancer with beer

Clover Valley Beer Festival hosts 2500 guests and raises $5908 for B.C. Cancer Foundation

VIDEO: Canadian zoos’ captive breeding programs help preserve endangered species

Programs considered last-ditch effort to prevent local extinctions of turtles, butterflies and more

B.C. log export rules killing us, northwest harvester says

NorthPac Forestry says Skeena Sawmills has plenty of timber

Oppenheimer Park residents told to leave, clear out tents by Aug. 21

Police say park has seen influx of residents, violence in recent months

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Environment groups warned saying climate change is real could be seen as partisan

Talk of climate change could be viewed as advocating against Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada

Search crews find 4-year-old boy who went missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

15-year-old boy drowns after midnight jump into Okanagan Lake

The RCMP and BC Coroners Service are investigating the drowning.

Most Read