Horry County police use social media as way to ‘catch a crook’

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – The Horry County Police Department tries new ways to catch suspects and leaders say the latest push on social media is putting suspects behind bars.

The idea behind a new social media push at the Horry County Police Department is to get the message straight from the department to the community as soon as possible, so neighbors can help officers solve crimes.

Horry County Police Public Information Officer Krystal Dotson says the department uses Facebook and Twitter as a form of policing.

“There are people out in this community that we need assistance in finding, and you know, we can’t be everywhere all the time,” describes Dotson. “It’s impossible to have our officers everywhere.”

The social media campaign, “Celebrities on Catching an Horry County Crook,” was originated by Dotson, but she says the playful title isn’t the department’s way of taking any crime lightly.

“We certainly are not going to make light of a victim or the traumatic and sometimes unimaginable things they go through,” clarifies Dotson. “We certainly empathize with that, and that’s kind of the driving for our new social media approach, because it’s not funny when a resident in our community is victimized.”

Horry County Police Chief Joseph Hill says he was tasked with rebranding the department and a push to make officers seem more approachable is part of that effort.

“Yeah, we can poke fun and have a little bit of fun, but the main thing is to get that information out, information sharing, and also some of that feedback from our communities,” agrees Chief Hill.

As the department grows its social media reach, Dotson says the campaign is working.

“We’re solving crimes, and that is the end goal,” states Dotson. “The end goal is to make sure that we get these people who chose to come to our community, wreak havoc, and break the laws and not abide by the rules and guidelines that are set forth in this community.”

The department also just released its first video announcing a Tweet-a-thon. An Horry County officer will tweet his or her entire day on July 15, so the community can get a firsthand look at what happens on a daily basis for officers in Horry County.