Three images originally posted to the social media network SnapChat show a dead deer lying in a creek with a trail of bright red blood flowing downstream, the back of a man walking away in a field with the caption “we out hereeee,” and a woman aiming a long-barreled firearm at the camera with the caption “poaching.” Officer John Casto, who manages the NRP’s Facebook page, posted all three images and asked the public for help identifying the individuals.
“Within an hour we had the individuals’ names,” Officer Casto said. “Within two hours the woman contacted us. She asked that her photo be taken down, and since she was cooperating with the investigation, we did.”
The Natural Resources Police received the images from an anonymous tipster. Posts to SnapChat are sent to a controlled list of recipients and disappear after one to 10 seconds. However, any recipient can take a screenshot of a SnapChat post, making it regular photo that lasts forever. Someone shared the screenshots on Facebook, and someone else who saw them sent the tip via Facebook.
“We’ve been impressed with how we’ve been able to solve crimes with the public’s help,” Col. Jerry Jenkins said. “The response has been beyond what we anticipated when we began using Facebook earlier this year. It’s become a valuable tool for us to gather information about crimes and suspects. It shows how deeply the community of hunting and fishing enthusiasts in West Virginia cares about protecting wildlife and enforcing laws.”
Follow West Virginia Natural Resources Police on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DNRpolice.
About the West Virginia Natural Resources Police
DNR Law Enforcement is the oldest statewide law enforcement agency, serving the citizens of West Virginia since February 1897. We have a staffing level of 123 Natural Resources Police Officers and 11 support personnel. Natural resource police officers are primarily responsible for the enforcement of the game and fish laws and rules. Officers in the section carry on a continuing program of Hunter Education and Boating Safety Education, as well as enforce laws relating to littering, forestry, state parks, environmental/solid waste, pleasure boating, and whitewater rafting. They also respond during times of emergency such as floods and other natural disasters, as well as assist the State Police during times of strife similar to the large coal strikes in past decades. Natural Resources Police Officers are the most visible of the division employees. A highly visible force of uniformed officers is a deterrent to violations of the natural resources laws.
For more information, visit: www.facebook.com/DNRpolice.
About the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
It is the statutory mission of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) to provide and administer a long-range comprehensive program for the exploration, conservation, development, protection, enjoyment and use of the natural resources of the State of West Virginia.
For more information, please visit www.WVDNR.gov.