Facebook joins the fight against crime

ONLINE: Constable Duade Paton keeps an eye on the Shoalhaven Police Facebook site.TEENAGERS spending hours on Facebook might not be wasting time – they could be helping to solve crimes.The Shoalhaven Police Facebook site has grown to nearly 850 followers, who have been looking at pictures of people police want to interview in relation to crimes in the local area.The officer who set up the local police Facebook presence, Constable Duade Paton, said the site was “a good conduit between police and the public”.“It’s a good tool,” he said. “It seems to be something that is going to stick around.”Most recently the site was used to publish pictures of a man police wanted to interview as part of a fraud investigation, and Constable Paton said others had used the site to post tips for police, or pose questions about things happening in their areas.He stressed he would rather see tips or complaints directed to Crime Stoppers or the front desk of a police station.“The Facebook site’s really not set up for people to report things,” he said.However he could see the site evolving to also include closed groups such as those involved in the Shoalhaven liquor accord, or Nowra CBD business owners, allowing police to share information confidentially with members of specific groups.Maintaining the Facebook site is just one of the tasks taken on by Constable Paton following his return to work after he nearly died a year ago.On July 27 the then 31-year-old was at home sitting by the computer when he suffered a cardiac arrest.Constable Paton’s wife Erin, paramedics and staff at Shoalhaven Hospital worked for several hours to keep him alive as he went through several more cardiac arrests before he was transferred to Sydney where he remained on life support for more than a week.A defibrillator was inserted in Constable Paton’s chest and attached to his heart, meaning many of the tasks normally covered by police officers were suddenly off limits.It was a bitter pill for someone dedicated to serving the community and upholding the law, and Constable Paton said he asked his wife to remove all his police clothing, photographs and equipment from the home before he was released from hospital.“I couldn’t bear to see it,” he said.However Constable Paton soon found a place in the crime management unit, starting part-time and eventually returning to working full-time.“The police force is such an amazing organisation that what has happened to me hasn’t stopped my career path,” he said.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.