Facebook Page Helps Track 50% Of Missing Probationers

The Marion County Department's Facebook page has helped track down over half of all missing probationers in the county.

Ohio’s Marion County Adult Probation Department has been able to track down almost half of all missing probationers thanks to a new community-driven Facebook initiative.

In Marion County, Ohio, an average of 800 people are on probation at any given time. However, there are only 13 probation officers trained to keep track of all of them.

Simple math tells us it’s difficult for the officers to keep track of all those offenders, especially when about 10 percent of people on probation simply stop contacting the Marion County Adult Probation Department.

However, a new initiative by the Marion Police Department asks neighbors to like the agency’s page on Facebook and help track down the missing probationers. Every week there is a new featured case, giving physical and contextual details about the missing probationer and where he was last seen.

So far, about 42 of the 80 fugitives have been tracked as far as Missouri and Oklahoma, according to the Marion Star.

Chief Probation Officer Buddy Lyles told the newspaper that, although the missing probationers were also featured in traditional local media, Facebook has made the most noticeable difference, leading to more captures than ever before.

The Marion County Police Department Facebook page has over 3,500 fans, but it’s not the only Marion that has a Facebook presence to get tips from the community: The Grant County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page from Marion, Indiana, as well as Marion County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, also feature head shots of missing probationers and ask the community to help track these people down.

How does your own county’s police department use Facebook?