BPD discusses how officials deem social media threats less credible

Officials track down person who made post first

BAKERSFIELD,Calif. - On Thursday Bakersfield Police Department (BPD) shared information with 23ABC about how they deem a social media threat against a school less credible.

BPD said social media investigations are complicated, however they said they investigate every threat thoroughly. 

“There’s no cut and dry process,” BPD Public Information Officer Ryan Kroeker said.

Often times officials are trying to track down someone who posted a threat but there isn't always an eyewitness who watched him or her create the post and online posts are easy to deny.

"Often times it's kids saying oh I was joking around, or I don't know someone used my profile and hacked into it and made a threat to a school I don't know about it," Kroeker said.

Even though kids may be joking, officials said they take every post seriously when it comes to human life, and social media posts are considered criminal threats.

"With criminal threats there are a few elements that have to be met but one there has to be a legitimate threat, and one the person has to be in fear for their life," Kroeker added.

Police first have to try to track down who was behind the post, and then Sergeant Kroeker said officials try to make contact with that person, "See if they have any fire arms registered to them, access to fire arms."

In order to make an arrest police have to be able to prove he or she made the threat, had intentions to carry out the threat and the reporting victim must fear for their life.

Kroeker said BPD receives several threats each year, "I would say over five each year." 

Officials also can't always verify the person behind the post. 

"Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat or Twitter is that yea, it may come from a person’s profile but is that the person who actually posted it," Kroeker continued.

Kroeker also said that when officials become aware of a social media threat they notify schools involved immediately. Officials also adjust their safety protocol on campus accordingly as they learn more about each investigation.
 

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