Social Media 911 | VideoEvan Kruegel | 8/13/2012
"Everything was going nuts from social media. People were saying we shut the road down from here to New Town and nobody could go anywhere, and locations were shut down, and to my knowledge none of that had come from any agency”, Said Williston Police Detective Cory Collings.
The rumor created quite an issue for law enforcement in town, particularly the Sheriff`s Department. Numerous officers had to be deployed to check the rumor, but the bigger issue was at dispatch, where phone lines were tied up all afternoon.
"Well dispatch, the sheriffs office, the police department, state radio, were all inundated with calls. So that ties up everyone in the office, it ties up the phones, it ties up all the lines for legitimate calls coming in. It just shuts everything down when everyone calls at one time”, Said Sheriff Scott Busching.
"Everybody wants to be the hero and be the first one to solve something. But in this incident, they got wrong information and they just kept going. And something that was this big turned into something that was huge”, Said Collings.
Even though rumors can spread quickly, social media does provide law enforcement with some advantages. Critical information can reach hundreds of people,
"Whether it`s a missing person or a stolen vehicle, we can kick it out and get it going and that`s how people can help us”, Said Collings.
Collings suggests calming down and doing some research before believing anything seen on a social media site.
"The biggest thing is follow up, don`t go `my brother`s cousin`s boyfriend said this so it must be true.` Follow up a little bit, just because it`s hit on your page 10 times doesn`t mean it`s accurate."
Sheriff Busching agrees.
"Don`t believe everything you hear."