Oregon detective wins international award for social media use

Detective Janet Zale
Detective Janet Zale

OREGON, OH (Toledo News Now) - An Oregon police officer has received an international award for her efforts to fight crime using social media.

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all ways that people stay connected in the digital world, but they're also being utilized to solve cases and track down suspects. They've played a huge role for the Oregon Police. Now Det. Janet Zale has been named Social Media Investigator of the Year.

Det. Zale has been in law enforcement for 23 years, and a detective for 10. In 2010, the Oregon Police Department began using Facebook to connect with the public, and Zale was put in charge of the content.

Since then, Zale says dozens of cases have been solved by uploading pictures, posting videos, and tweeting information. Her hard work is now being recognized with the social media award from Connected Cops, an organization that focuses on teaching law enforcement agencies the benefits of social media.

"I don't think this was an award for me," Zale said. "I think this was an award for the police department, which in turn ends up being good for the entire community because it gives them the opportunity to say, 'Hey, our police department is on top of things.'"

The Connected Cops award ceremony was held in England, so Zale gave her acceptance speech by video. She competed against an officer from Finland and an investigator with the Dutch National Police.

Zale says her next step is to start a Pinterest account to post pictures of stolen property.

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