October 22, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
45°F

Putting a face on the force

MEDINA — People who are wanted by the Medina Police Department better watch their backs out in public and their “faces” on the Web.

Earlier this month, the department began posting on its Facebook profile page the names and pictures of people for whom they have outstanding arrest warrants. People with information on the wanted people can leave tips on the profile page.

Tips also can be called in to the department at (330) 725-7777 or e-mailed to officer Sara Lynn at slynn@mpd.
medinaoh.org.

“In the past, arrest warrants sat in a dusty file drawer and resided in the police-only computers,” Chief Patrick Berarducci said in a statement. “Many times, arrests were made only after chance encounters with police or after days of time-consuming searching.”

Berarducci, who was sworn in this summer, said Thursday that when he started with the department there often was no one in charge of serving certain warrants.

“Consequently, you end up with these people out there that are just not being aggressively followed,” he said.

Berarducci put Lynn in charge of coordinating the department’s efforts to locate wanted individuals. He said she came up with the idea to use the social networking site.

“I realized it was a good opportunity to communicate with the public. If you have an interest in your community and want to help, well, you can be doing this from anywhere. You can be sitting in a restaurant and using your iPhone and look at the wanted people,” Berarducci said.

So far, he said the department has worked on establishing interest in the Facebook profile.

“We’re not looking for fast results here. We’re looking to establish it and get it out to the public so they know about it,” he said.

The Facebook profile also is used to post news stories written about the department and pictures of crime suspects.

Berarducci said he hopes to eventually start up a Twitter account to send out school-closing information, emergency alerts and other department news.

“In a perfect world, everybody in Medina would subscribe to one or the other — the city’s Web page, Police Department’s Web page, Facebook profile or the Twitter account — and we’d be able to communicate with them instantly. That’s where we’d like to go someday,” he said.

Contact Maria Kacik at (330) 721-4049 or mkacik@ohio.net.