Defrosting Cold Cases: A Social Media Force Multiplier
Social Media participation not only allows engagement within, but also well beyond your community and may offer benefits not readily available in times past. A blog devoted primarily to “cold case” investigations reached out and engaged with the Arcadia Police Department, highlighting the unsolved 2007 Jason Wei murder case in March of this year. Defrosting Cold Cases (DCC) is the name of this blog, developed and managed by an east coast lawyer who is known as @Vidocq_CC on Twitter. “My work got me in touch with many police departments and those collaborations resulted in this website. I have yet to find a police department that is not underfunded, not understaffed, or not overworked. Often, I heard officers say that they wished that they had time to build a website for their cold cases…”
Our Department had teamed up with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, gathering a $20,000 reward in this case which was previously promoted through conventional media. Having a web presence like DCC highlight the case, and by using Social Media platforms, only multiplies our efforts to bring awareness to the Wei case. There are virtually no limits to potential exposure on the Internet and this is a great example of using Social Media as a force multiplier.
DCC is no stranger to collaboration efforts, as shown on their website. DCC benefits from the participation of NYPD Detective Sergeant Joe Giacalone who heads up the Bronx Cold Case Squad. Joe is active on the LexisNexis Investigators Network and hosts the Cold Case Squad Blog. DCC even reaches out globally, inviting UK fingerprint expert, Richard Case, to participate and offer additional expertise at the table. Penn State University has also contributed, offering assistance on a 1975 Florida cold case.
Honoring National Police Week, DCC recently ran a series of posts featuring some “ very alive” members of Law Enforcement that contribute to the conversation via Social Media, to include Captain Mike Parker, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (CA), retired Suffolk County Police Department (NY) veteran Kathleen Ryan, Arizona Detective Suzy Ivy, Detective Sergeant Joe Giacalone, New York Police Department (NY), and Sergeant Tom Le Veque, Arcadia Police Department (CA). DCC also posted information on unsolved line of duty deaths, like that of the killing of Police Officer Robert Tatman, Champaign, IL, who was murdered in 1967.
For those of you who participate on Twitter, DCC and @Vidocq_CC host a frequent chat on Twitter, Fridays, noon to 1:00 p.m. EST, using the hashtag of #CClivechat. You can find various representation from folks that have an interest in law enforcement, crime, criminology, cold case investigation, writers, educators, lawyers, and more. Take a look at Defrosting Cold Cases and see if you, too, can take advantage of this type of force multiplier via Social Media.