La Vista police officers tweet about road conditions.

The Omaha Police Department posts articles about public safety to its Facebook page.

And Bellevue police share videos featuring retiring officers.

Around the metro area, law enforcement agencies are embracing social media, hoping it gives them a voice in the conversations taking place in their communities.

On Thursday afternoon, officers and officials from Douglas County, Sarpy County, Omaha, La Vista, Papillion, Ralston, Council Bluffs, Bellevue, Plattsmouth and Crete gathered at the La Vista Police Department to learn how to up their social media game.

Tim Burrows, a retired police officer from Canada, showed the agencies how to attract more attention to their social media posts across several platforms.

Burrows travels the country showing agencies how social media can be a tool to humanize police officers and to stamp out rumors, lies or misinformation that can become rampant when crimes happen in communities.

Social media can also help police solve crimes.

La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten pointed to a photo his department posted on social media of then-11-month-old Angel Ramirez-Marinero after the boy was left in a dumpster at the Alpine Village Apartments complex near 84th and Harrison Streets in May. The child's mother and brother were killed by another family member in Omaha.

After finding the child, Lausten said, police didn't know to whom the child belonged, so they tweeted the photo and asked anyone with information to contact the Police Department.

Within the hour, someone saw the photo and alerted the father and baby sitter, who contacted police.

"This is something you should've done yesterday," Lausten said about law enforcement joining social media.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1192, emily.nitcher@owh.com

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(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Please keep it clean, turn off CAPS LOCK and don't threaten anyone. Be truthful, nice and proactive. And share with us - we love to hear eyewitness accounts.

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