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Chief McKinley: Contact police before posting crimes


Like many things, social media can be a force for good, or not so good. An uplifting story can reach far more people on Facebook than it could with only traditional methods of distribution. However ugly comments can also be attached to it and cause a very different reaction than the story was intended. There are charitable causes that receive donations and help thousands of people, but there are also propaganda-type posts that go viral with misleading "facts" that can cause all sorts of hurt feelings and pain.

Law enforcement can also be enhanced or hindered by the social media phenomenon.

Michael McKinley, Chief of the Apopka Police Department, reached out to popular Apopka Facebook pages. In the letter, he describes the advantages and disadvantages of posting a crime on Facebook, and asks for the administrator's help.

“Media outlets and social media can be powerful tools in solving crime. Law enforcement agencies across the country use both to reach the community when they need to identify criminals.

Over the past several months there have been a number of Facebook posts of crimes and suspicious activity that has or is occurring in or around the City of Apopka. As the Chief of Police, it is encouraging to see the community’s willingness to get involved in fighting crime. I applaud everyone’s efforts to want to notify the community and their neighbors about criminal and suspicious activity.


"The Apopka Police Department does not want to deter the use of social media or discourage people from posting criminal or suspicious activity, but we do request that they notify their local law enforcement agency prior to posting something to social media. This will afford law enforcement the opportunity to investigate suspicious activity and/or be aware of crime occurring within their jurisdiction."

Chief Michael Mc Kinley, Apopka Police Department


The posting of pictures and video of criminal activity could also negatively impact a criminal case. If a witness or victim sees a photograph of a suspect on social media it could taint the witness or victim’s testimony in court.

Additionally, the Apopka Police Department has a crime analyst that actively tracks crime trends and patterns. By actively tracking crime trends and patterns the Police Department is able to more efficiently and effectively deploy resources to the areas of the City where crime is currently occurring. When crime and suspicious activity is posted to social media sites in lieu of notifying law enforcement, crime trends and patterns may go unnoticed.

There certainly is nothing wrong with posting criminal or suspicious activity on social media and we understand everyone’s intentions are good. We only request that residents don’t use social media to report criminal or suspicious activity without first notifying the appropriate law enforcement authority.

The men and women of the Apopka Police Department appreciate the community’s support and efforts to help them fight crime and appreciate the great working relationship we have with our community.”

Annie Cunningham, the founder of Apopka Rants, Raves, Reviews and News, is in support of Chief McKinley. On her Facebook Page she wrote this:

“Please note that this post is not intended to prohibit posts and is not a reflection on our Facebook Page - we all want to catch the bad guy (or girl) - so let's do our best to help out APD and our community by adhering to this process going forward. Thank you all for working together to help our community stay safe.”

Cunningham also included McKinley's letter.

Gene Knight of Apopka Then and Now also posted McKinley's letter on his page, and offered these thoughts as well:

"I believe the police should be called asap so they are able to start working the case as every second counts. I also believe if you post a crime that has happened and post it on Facebook and don't contact the police it's not doing the community any good. You are basically letting the person get away with a crime and the opportunity to go out and commit another crime. The police should always be called first before any evidence is destroyed, because the longer you wait the likelihood of the catching the person goes down. We will honor his (McKinley's) request on Apopka Then and Now."






Apopka Rants and Raves, Apopka Then and Now, Chief Michael McKinley, Facebook


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