MOUNT VERNON — Those running from local law enforcement officials now have another reason to be concerned. The Knox County Prosecutor’s Office has a Facebook page that posts pictures and information of local offenders that currently have an outstanding arrest warrant in their name.
“The main purpose is to be able to post pictures of people who have outstanding warrants here in Knox County, to get public involvement and try to get calls to get them turned in so we can get them prosecuted,” said Emily Curtis, currently serving as an intern at the prosecutor’s office. Curtis is a student at Everest University and spearheaded the Facebook project. “We can also share information on other things that are going on around the county of legal nature that have to do with our office.”
Anyone who has a Facebook account can visit the Knox County Prosecutor’s Office Facebook page and view photos of those who currently have an outstanding warrant in the county. Phone numbers of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office as well as the prosecutor’s office are listed if anybody has any information on one of the offenders. Callers can remain anonymous when contacting either of these offices by telephone.
Information can also be shared directly on the Facebook page, however it will not be anonymous. The page will also tell how many offenders are caught through the Facebook page postings.
Any felony offender who has a warrant will be posted on the page and will be arranged by category according to their offense. New offenders will continue to be posted and will be removed from the page when arrested.
Direct use of a Facebook page through the county prosecutor’s office is a new, untested practice. “There are some county prosecutors that have personal Facebook pages, but from what I have found there is not any place that is using a public Facebook page to help find wanted criminals,” said Curtis. Similar practices do exist, including websites specifically designed to display photos of criminals.
“We were just trying to find a way of reaching out to the public, and we got an idea from the Columbus city attorney who has a website,” said Curtis. “We kind of took that idea and applied it to where it is more easily accessible to the public, and we can kind of promote it.”
The page was made public on Wednesday and will include an access link to the Mount Vernon News and other area sites. The News will also be publishing a weekly feature identifying criminals currently on the wanted list.