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Local Law Enforcement Explains Good and Bad Sides of Social Media

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Many people love to hear juicy gossip, and hearing a news tip from a neighbor is a lot of the times a good thing. With social media, that's becoming easier and easier to do. Local officials said the key is to be able to tell what, and what not, to believe.

The Preston County Sheriff's Department has its own Facebook page and Sheriff Dan Loughrie said he has no problem with other social media pages getting information out there. But the truth is, it's not always the truth.

"Sunday we had someone saying there was shooting in Tunnelton, there wasn't shooting in Tunnelton. And then Monday, we were hit pretty hard twice on Monday morning, they said there was a kidnapping at Walmart. Which wasn't true," Sheriff Loughrie said, "of course, that's the only down side of it. Everything else is, 'Hey there's something going on out here, just letting everybody know.' And sometimes it's true."

Sheriff Loughrie does have issues with names being released on social media of accident victims before the family is notified. He said one Facebook page that over 7,000 people follow, does a pretty good job of handling that.

The Mon and Preston County Rumor Mill administrators want to remain anonymous, but they provided a statement about the page:

"In my heart, my goal is to help people. I don't want to hurt anybody. I don't like when anybody says anything malicious on the page," a co-administrator said. "I ban people when they are rude and inconsiderate of others. I tell the other co-administrators, if you see something that I don't catch, then ban them."

But the page is called "the Rumor Mill" and the administrators said they doesn't promise it's all fact.

Monongalia County Sheriff Al Kisner said that deputies will use the social media pages of suspects for evidence.

"We've had incidents where we've had crimes committed and then people will go on their Facebook page and brag about it," Sheriff Kisner said. "That they were there, or they committed it, or admit to crimes."

Social media is free for anyone to post and read what they want.

Sheriff Loughrie has some tips, "Don't believe everything you see on Facebook." And stick to news sources for your information.

Both sheriffs said that calling the departments to find out any information is welcomed. Sheriff Kisner also said you can call the Monongalia County Communication Center's Non-Emergency line as well. Those numbers are below:

Preston County Sheriff's Department: 304-329-1611

Monongalia County Sheriff's Department: 304-291-7260

Monongalia County Communication Center: 304-599-6382