People use social media for reasons other than communicating with each other.

Some use Facebook to sell drugs.

Last week, The Independent ran a short story about two people arrested on drug charges.

A commenter on Facebook said the accused individuals have seven to 10 Facebook accounts each. “Guaranteed they are selling over social media,” the commenter wrote.

Capt. Jim Duering of the Grand Island Police Department couldn’t comment on the specific defendants.

“However, the fact that people are using social media to distribute drugs is not new information,” Duering said.

Crimes are being committed on different terrain than they used to be.

The Police Department’s cyber crimes investigator does a good job in presentations of explaining his work, Duering said.

If police know that people distribute drugs or commit other crimes in a park, police resources are used to remedy the problem.

The investigator notes that cyberspace is also “a space where crime is being committed. It makes no difference whether it’s physical or electronic space. That is the space where crimes are being committed. Therefore, we need to have a police presence on that space,” Duering said.

The “face of crime is slowly changing,” and police need to keep up with the changes, he said.

How do criminals sell drugs on the Internet?

“Well, I think some people are pretty blatant about it,” Duering said. “Some people do it through coded message. There’s lots of different ways that they do it. And ultimately when we discover one way, they’ll come up with something new and we’ll adapt to that. And then we’ll adapt to the next one and the next one.”

Keeping up with those innovations is part of the investigation process, he said.

Fifteen or 20 years ago, drug dealers used a different-colored light bulb on their porch to spread the word “when they had drugs in,” Duering said.

“Now we have the cyberspace version of the same thing,” he said. “So it’s our job as police officers to stay up on that as much as we can, learn what the next trick is and go and arrest that person until they come up with something new.”

In other words, police departments have to continue to evolve, adapt and remain flexible.

“I think police work has evolved more in the last 15 years than it probably has in the 100 years prior,” Duering said. “If you look at traditional policing and how long the same methods were used, from Sherlock Holmes until up to 1990 and what’s happened since then, it’s pretty huge.”

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