Lethbridge police stop ‘Wanted Wednesday’ but will continue using social media for public’s help

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LPS stops ‘Wanted Wednesday,’ continues using social media for public’s help
After an official review, the Lethbridge Police Service is discontinuing its “Wanted Wednesday” feature, but will continue to use social media for help finding wanted individuals in certain situations. As Erik Bay reports, some believe more research is needed before the practice continues. – Jul 14, 2021

The Lethbridge Police Service is no longer using “Wanted Wednesday” but will ask for the public’s help to find wanted individuals on social media in certain situations.

The social media feature posted a person’s photo and a description of their alleged crime, asking for the public’s help.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” said Paul Butler, who started a petition to stop “Wanted Wednesday.”

The online petition has gathered over 500 signatures to date.

He said the use of social media should be paused and instead give time for more information to be gathered on how posting someone’s information impacts that individual.

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“I think we need to know what it does to their safety, in terms of depression and mental health,” Butler said.

“What does it do to their chances long term and medium term in terms of rehabilitation and getting jobs?”

Global News reached out to LPS about changes to “Wanted Wednesday” and received a statement in return.

“Asking for and receiving public assistance is an effective law enforcement tool for locating individuals with outstanding arrest warrants. There are also times when police have a duty to inform the public they are at risk due to an individual at large,” the statement read.

Butler said LPS reached out to him to discuss the decision.

“We do still believe the police are a part of the community, (but) ‘Wanted Wednesday’ without a doubt undermined that aspect,” Butler said

While he hopes more reviews are done, Butler said the current changes are important ones.

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“It takes away some of the aspects of public shaming as entertainment, which I think was a real problem.”

LPS added it will ensure the individuals featured on social media pose a risk to the community and all other avenues of locating them have been exhausted before posting.

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