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)

Public asked not to share police location during active incidents

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

UVic conference explores healthy ways to express masculinity

ReImagining Masculinity conference Nov. 16 hopes to cultivate healthy, non-violent conversations

Sidney calls on provincial government to appoint mediator to resolve strike

Council approved motion from Coun. Chad Rintoul by 6-1 vote

West Shore soap company releases Lucky Lager beer soap

Metchosin Soap Works puts out beer-infused olive oil soap

Bateman gallery’s OneTree 2019 honours the life of a single, salvaged tree

Bateman Foundation Gallery hosts OneTree Nov. 16 to Feb. 29, 2020

Climate change protest to take place in Victoria during rush hour

Extinction Rebellion group targets local media with die-in on Douglas Street

POLL: Do you support CUPE workers in their dispute with School District 63?

SD63 schools to remain closed as strike continues Tuesday

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 12

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Killer who fled to Taiwan day after shooting B.C. man over $80 sentenced 13 years later

The sentence comes 13 years after Shaoxin Zhang, 19, was killed in a Burnaby parking lot

B.C. forest industry trade mission finding new markets in China

Diplomatic tensions eased, minister Doug Donaldson says

Sex assault charge stayed against Port Moody mayor

Rob Vagramov completed an alternative measures program, special prosecutor said

“I thought, enough is enough”: B.C. teen takes on bullies through social media

‘I thought, enough is enough. I wanted to try something to stop it.’

Audit finds Canada’s fisheries in decline and response lacks urgency

Report says 17 per cent of fish stocks are critically depleted, up from 13.4 per cent in 2018

Small group of Cherry fans protest his firing at Rogers HQ

One sign at the Toronto rally: ‘Rogers cancels Don, we cancel Rogers’

Most Read