A little over two years ago, the Kirksville Police Department launched their â??Fugitive of the Weekâ?? program.
Since then, itâ??s been a huge success.
Each week the department releases a description of the person theyâ??re looking for along with a picture, and what the suspect is wanted for. In most cases, itâ??s someone they are unable to locate.
The department also depends on social media to help get the word out. They post the information on their Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as through Text Caster, which is a service that sends out text messages and email alerts.
â??Social media has become a major tool that we use, not just for Fugitive of the Week, but in other investigations as well,â?? said Detective Jeremy Cordray. â??It allows us to have direct contact with our followers. It also allows us to put it out in the form that we want, and get it out to the people when we need it out to them.â??
So how do they compile their fugitive list?
â??Usually the people that we identify for the program usually have different kinds of warrants, some may be serious than others,â?? Det. Cordray said. â??It doesnâ??t mean these people are bad people, they arenâ??t, it means they may have done something wrong and weâ??re just trying to locate them.â??
The order they release their â??Fugitive of the Weekâ?? isnâ??t a random selection, either.
â??We donâ??tâ?? draw randomly, itâ??s not that somebodyâ??s number comes up and itâ??s their turn to be Fugitive of the Week or anything like that,â?? Det. Cordray said. â??We try and find somebody out of the stack of paperwork we have. And Iâ??ll admit that some weeks it might not be what someone might expect, they may have five traffic warrants, and they may not be a danger to the community as somebody else might be, but the warrant list is going to fluctuate and itâ??s going to change.â??
In some cases the Fugitive of the Week suspect one week may have a more serious warrant than a different Fugitive of the Week another week.
â??Some weeks we might have a couple of people that have some burglary warrants, which we really want them to get picked up, and other weeks we may have a lot of people that just have traffic warrants,â?? said Det. Cordray. â??There are occasions where we might put out a couple different fugitives that we're looking for, they may not be the Fugitive of the Week, but we can send those alerts at any time.â??
In a few instances, once the Fugitive of the Week suspectâ??s information is released, that person ends up turning themselves in. In other cases, someone calls in with a tip.
According to Det. Cordray the public also plays an important role in locating these suspects.
â??The first thing the community can do is to sign up for these things that we send out. Whether itâ??s through Facebook, Twitter or Text Caster,â?? Det. Cordray said. â??Once they get the message and know something, they need to call it in. We follow up on all our tips, and sometimes those tips lead us to the person we are looking for.â??
CLICK HERE to follow Kirksville Police Department on Facebook and to learn more about Text Caster and how you can sign up for free.