Hilliard police officers have found their own use for Facebook: identifying bad guys.
On Dec. 2, the Hilliard Division of Police Facebook page went online. Within two days, it had accrued about 400 "likes" and had about 1,500 hits for its most popular posts, including a story about the department's new badges depicting First Responders Park.
Users can find the page by searching for "Hilliard Division of Police" on Facebook.
"It's an idea we've had for about a year in the detective bureau," said Hilliard Sgt. Curtis Baker. "We talked with our chief about it and got the page up and running (Dec. 2)."
The Facebook page will have a dual purpose, Baker said.
It will fulfill the traditional mission of social media, advising viewers of city festivals and events, as well as police-specific items such as citizens police academies and bicycle-safety seminars, but it also will be used to augment law enforcement.
"When some of our investigations come to a dead end, we think the site could help us," said Baker, adding that several other area departments, such as Grove City police, have a Facebook page and have obtained viable leads from it.
On Dec. 2, Hilliard police posted a photo of a suspect in an Aug. 26 burglary of a Hoffman Farms Drive residence.
The suspect entered an open window of the residence, which has a backyard that abuts the Heritage Trail, police said.
"It was a crime of opportunity," said Baker, and the suspect attempted to use a debit card from a stolen purse less than an hour later, from which police obtained the images posted on Facebook.
Tipsters can contact police through Facebook, by calling 614-876-2429 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.