Posting photos and information about unfolding police incidents can be potentially dangerous, says Red Deer RCMP.
On May 24, police responded to a report of a shooting on Hepworth Close. Residents were asked to avoid posting photographs online while the incident was unfolding (this was a request and not a legal requirement).
“In (instances) where we have a dynamic situation, we are wanting to make sure the situation is handled in a safe manner – not only for the public, but also for the officers responding,” Cpl. Mike Evans said this week.
“People putting posts out on social media will not only be potentially viewed by the public in general, but the individual we’re trying to engage (with). If they see or know what’s going on, that could put the officers at risk.”
Evans said RCMP understand the public wants to share information about incidents like this to others, but he stressed how it can be dangerous.
During the long weekend investigation, a 12-year-old boy and his mother were briefly detained and put in handcuffs.
“In the initial stages of that investigation a specific residence was identified. Two individuals were detained, one of those obviously was a 12-year-old boy,” he said.
“In wanting to make sure the public is safe, the officers are safe, that is part of making sure everything is secure … and we can safely assess what was going on, which was very much done in this incident almost immediately. Within minutes (it) was determined that these individuals were not … what we were looking for at the time.
“We were able to release the folks right away.”
Evans said if photos from incidents like that are shared online, it can create a “difficult situation” for people, especially “if they aren’t involved in something, and somebody’s posting information on social media that quickly (leads others to) make an assumption.”
In an update provided the following day, Red Deer RCMP said the alleged shooter was identified at a nearby residence and arrested without incident.
No one was injured in the shooting.