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Sheriff’s department has gone social


How fast can social media work today?

It took only 16 minutes from the time the LaGrange County Sheriff’s Department put out a message on the Nixle network about a wanted man until he was in handcuffs in Steuben County.

Around 1:20 p.m. Wednesday, the department used its electronic messaging service, Nixle, to broadcast that it was looking for Derrick Lackey on a warrant for Failure to Appear on several charges.

At 1:36 p.m., Steuben County deputies had Lackey under arrest.

According to LaGrange County Communications Director Arron Knisley, calls started coming in within a couple of minutes of the posting. Two callers gave the same information, which allowed the department to contact Steuben County, who picked Lackey up minutes later.

The department began using the Nixle service earlier this year to alert the community to road closures, incidents, and weather alerts and to help locate individuals.

Now, the department is expanding with the start of a Facebook page.

The department opened its Facebook page earlier this week and within a day had over 200 followers, with more added all the time.

The department had been watching other agencies, like the Indiana State Police, to see what information would work best on the site. Knisley said they plan to do a lot of the same announcements that they send out via Nixle. They also hope that the page can be used by the community to find information that will eliminate the need for residents to call into the department. Residents will even be able to message questions or comments directly to the department via Facebook.

Knisley added that they will add information on the department, including information on the K-9 units, the SWAT team, the dive team, and others.

Residents can also submit tips through the page via the private message option, which would not be disclosed. (Messages written in the public space, or “wall,” on Facebook can be seen by others.)

 Residents can still call the communications center at 463-7491, at any time.

Those needing emergency assistance should call 911.