Police: Social media endangers standoff negotiations

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – Local police say social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are making their jobs more difficult.

Police negotiators specialize in reasoning with a person who is in a state of stress and, in some cases, a danger to themselves or others.

“People can very quickly determine whether you’re sincere, and if you’re not sincere, you lose credibility very quickly,” said Ken Schollenberger, commander of York Area Regional Police Department’s Negotiation Division.

Trust can become a problem when you throw social media into the mix.

“With computers and social media, we have to control, or try to control who that person is talking to outside of us,” Schollenberger said. “They could be tweeting or putting something on Facebook instantly as we’re live talking to them.”

“Really, it’s putting us in a situation – if that person’s watching – you’re putting our officers at risk,” Springettsbury Township police Chief Dan Stump said.

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