Police live chat helps catch criminals - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Police live chat helps catch criminals

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When it comes to social media and reaching the public online, the Arlington Police Department is always on the cutting edge. And now officers are chatting live with residents.

The department's live chat system has actually been up and running for about a year. Already it has helped police catch a suspect on the city's most wanted list.

Someone spotted 29-year-old Amanda Houston, who was wanted for felony forgery, at a restaurant and used the chat to turn her in.

"Let the officer know that they think someone that is on our list is at the Chuck E. Cheese and they gave the name and description," said Zhivonni McDonnell with Arlington police.

The live chat worked well when tornadoes hit Arlington last spring and normal channels of communications were stretched to the limit. It's also popular among people who normally wouldn't get involved if they thought they couldn't remain anonymous.

"Tim says there's people outside smoking marijuana and drinking and may start a fight," McDonnell said.

Police said the live chat should never be a substitute for 911 in case of an emergency, but officers will respond when they are needed. At other times the system helps the department save its resources.

The chat is available at arlingtonpd.org and it does work on mobile devices.


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