Facebook helping fight domestic violence in Harford County
11:33 PM, Jan 15, 2014
5:35 AM, Jan 16, 2014
The reach of the latest Harford County Sheriff's Office "Facebook Live" session continues to grow, while Wednesday evening's topic struck a chord with Sheriff Jesse Bane.
Leaders with the office started the sessions in September 2013. Once a month, they hold a live question and answer session for social media users.
Less than an hour after the session ended at 8 p.m. on Wednesday night, the number was over 2,500.
There were questions coming in like, "What do you consider to be domestic violence? Is it only physical or can it be verbal as well?"
Watching closely was Sheriff Jesse Bane, who typically leaves the social media sessions to the public information officers, but made sure not to miss this one.
"I have a very intense interest in victims of domestic violence and making sure that we do everything we possibly can to keep them safe," Bane said.
Sheriff Bane tells ABC2 that this passion goes back to an experience at his cousin's house as a young boy.
"I happened to spend the night with them one night and actually witnessed first hand the beatings and the fear that was in the eyes of the children and I can remember, I was only a little guy at the time, I can remember we all hid under the beds so he wouldn't be able to find us when he came home. So that is something that stuck with me for a long long time and even to this day."
It takes a team to make sure the public is well informed and safe.
There were representatives with non profit SARC for information on services and support and members of the Domestic Violence Unit were also on hand, answering questions about protective orders, details of an investigation, and being a witness to domestic violence.
Sergeant Tracy Penman says social media extends their reach.
"There might be reasons why they're not coming forward and they can actually sit at their computer and they can ask the questions that they need to. I think it's incredibly important to get that information out there and those services to those people that you might not have had an opportunity to talk to otherwise," said Penman.
Some of the topics the sheriff's office will be covering in the upcoming months include gang recognition, drug recognition and crime prevention.