Public Goes Social to Help Law Enforcement

by Placerville Newswire / Jun 06, 2016 / comments

No matter how well trained, equipped and staffed, law enforcement can’t do it alone.  Within a relatively short period of time, the slogan was plastered on New York City transit vehicles.  

On September 13, 2014, Lars Knutsen picked up a man needing a ride near a fire in Pollock Pines, California.  During the ride, the man who would later be identified as Wayne Huntsman, would describe his “heroic” actions near the scene of the fire.  As evidence, Huntsman produced a selfie video in which he describes being surrounded by fire. Lars, somewhat uncomfortable with the tale, had the presence of mind to make a recording of the selfie video with his own phone.  After dropping off Huntsman, Lars and the community watched as the fire spread to 97,000 acres and became known as the King Fire.     Lars reported the conversation and the video to investigators looking into the fire.  Within a few days, Huntsman was taken into custody and charged with arson.  While investigators recovered the device Huntsman used to create the selfie video, it had been erased.  Thus the video of the video created by Lars became a significant piece of evidence.  This is particularly true because by watching the video carefully you can clearly make out two very distinct fire start locations in the background behind Huntsman. (http://tinyurl.com/gs74z6k

While this is perhaps one of the best examples of “if you see something, say something”, others exist every day.  The El Dorado County Watch Facebook page (http://tinyurl.com/zvmntua) does an excellent job connecting both members of the public to one another, and connecting the public to law enforcement. 

We are all fortunate that every law enforcement agency and fire service agency in El Dorado County actively engages with the public, both to receive information and to disseminate it.  The Sheriff’s Facebook page is very active in this regard. (http://tinyurl.com/gwmzpsm)  Our own social media outreach includes Facebook, Twitter, a blog and Instagram.   Our Wednesday’s Most Wanted is an excellent example.  Approximately 70% of the fugitives posted are captured as a result of tips from the public.  Approximately 8% self-surrender after being posted on the Most Wanted. 

The bottom line, Allen Kay had it right; the public and law enforcement must work together to insure our safety. A thank you to Lars and every other citizen who takes the time to join a watch and say something.  If you see something, please say something. 

Below are some, but not all, links that will provide further connection to other groups/law enforcement agencies in El Dorado County:

Georgetown Divide Area Watch Page - Facebook:  http://tinyurl.com/guf5ws5

Placerville Police Department - Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/zkwcbjj

South Lake Tahoe Police Department: http://www.cityofslt.us/police

El Dorado County Fire Protection District - Facebook:  http://tinyurl.com/z22xx2b

CAL FIRE – Facebook:  http://tinyurl.com/hfq8tzz

El Dorado Hills Fire Department – Facebook:   http://tinyurl.com/h747ow8