Social media helps police search for missing people

Posted at 11:03 PM, Mar 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-03 00:03:22-05
In just a week, three girls went missing in Northeast Wisconsin.
Luckily, police found them all safe. But while searching for the girls, who were from De Pere, Ashwaubenon, and Oconto County, each department used TV stations, newspapers, and social media to find them.
"The way we communicate that to the public is crucial," said Jedd Bradley with the De Pere Police Department.
For De Pere Police, finding a missing person is a case by case situation. However, it begins with police trying to get in touch with anyone who might know where the missing person is. If they can't find the person, the next step is getting the word out.
"That way we can have thousands of people looking for this person, instead of a specific group," Officer Bradley said.
Police rely heavily on social media because posting to sites like Facebook can reach more people quickly. De Pere Police, Ashwaubenon Public Safety, and the Oconto County Sheriff's Office all used social media, specifically Facebook, while looking for the missing girls last week.
"For us to be able to post that and go out to 6 or 7,000, 10,000 people, with the click of a mouse or a send button, that's huge," Officer Bradley explained.
If you see a post like that on social media, or see a story on the local news, it means the missing persons case is more urgent, according to Officer Bradley.
"If we're posting it, that means it's a little more serious and we need to find this person," he said.
Because with more people looking, the person could get home faster, according to police.