Live streaming poses safety issues during stand-offs

Live streaming poses safety issues during stand-offs
Published: Sep. 21, 2016 at 2:40 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2016 at 3:19 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - As Louisville Metro police and SWAT negotiated with a man barricaded inside the Falcon Crest Apartments for 14 hours on Monday, they may not have been the only ones in contact with Paul Badamo.
Residents and neighbors of the apartments were live streaming the incident on social media, a concern for LMPD officers who were trying to reach a peaceful resolution with Badamo.
Indiana State Police Captain and former hostage negotiator Chuck Cohen, explained this type of social media update can be dangerous to police, a hostage or a person barricaded inside. Updates in real time can compromise the position of the officers and SWAT team, giving the subject inside a view to the outside word, which can sometimes be deadly.
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"When you are talking about online social media so you have real time or near real time abilities to communicate, it presents a challenge when we have a critical incident such as a hostage or barricade situation," Cohen said, "it allows that person that's involved in taking hostages or barricading themselves access to the outside world."
Captain Cohen explained most of the time, citizens don't intend to provide information to the suspect, but even a photo can be dangerous.
"It can really present a risk to both the officers involved as well as someone that might be inside and might be taken hostage, and the person that is barricaded themselves," Cohen said. "Passerbys and people in the area again in real time or near real time, put content in social media, sometimes that content poses a risk to those involved in that critical incident. It becomes much more difficult to control the communication, control that environment. We're not just talking about cellular communication or landline communication, we're talking about the ways individual ways can access the media, all the ways they can access social media."

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Social media on the scene of a SWAT stand-off presents new challenges to officers, challenges they're constantly trying to stay ahead of.
"Unfortunately there's not a way to get ahead of this. One of the things we do try and do when we have a critical incident is to monitor open source information so at least we know what communication is occurring."

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