BANGOR, Maine — Information technology has changed drastically in recent years, and to keep up with the times the Bangor Police Department has created a Facebook page, Sgt. Paul Edwards said Monday.
“It’s just another tool to provide information to the public instead of waiting for the newspaper,” he said. “It gives people the chance to stay informed.”
Facebook and MySpace, popular social network sites, can be used by police as a source of evidence or information about possible suspects and has already been used in court cases in other parts of the nation.
Bangor police are following in the footsteps of other law enforcement agencies in Maine, including Old Town and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, which both created Facebook accounts in March.
The MDEA’s Facebook site has information posted on fugitives, drug tips, recent drug busts and a link for posting anonymous tips about drug activities.
“MDEA Director Roy McKinney said a number of other police agencies in the country have had success with Facebook, and we decided that MDEA could utilize this communications tool to network with the public,” Stephen McCausland, Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman, said when the site was unveiled in the spring.
Auburn, Greenville and Presque Isle police departments, and others have their own sites.
Bangor’s new Facebook site has only basic information, but eventually will have more, Edwards said.
“It would be a place to put wanted people, we’re looking for this and that, and all-point bulletins,” he said.
In the future the site will include information about Police Department programs and links to information for the public. A post about the New Year’s Eve ball drop in downtown is listed.
Founded in February 2004, Facebook has 350 million active users, half of whom log on every day and spend an average 55 minutes at the site, according to the company’s Web site. Approximately 70 percent of the active users are not located in the United States, it states.
By 2:30 p.m. Monday, the new Bangor police site had 51 “fans” and the number was steadily growing.