Earlier today I received an email inquiry from one of our Officer.com ad sales folks. Nikki is a Wisconsin resident who had seen, as she describes, an almost explosive growth in participation on a Facebook event surrounding the disappearance of Beau Butschke. Since I'm a police officer, she had contacted me to ask two things: 1) what is the police outlook about such citizen activity? and 2) would that question be worth a blog post? I asked Nikki to write up a summation and it follows below. I think her question is a valid one but I'm willing to bet that the answers she receives will be as unique as the officers who provide them. By and large I think all law enforcement agencies appreciate - until it becomes a hindrance - community support and activity that helps in any investigation. That those in the community have embraced social media as a tool to bring awareness and pool information or resources is a sign of the times that we can't (and shouldn't want to) avoid. Your serious replies to Nikki's question are appreciated. Her write up: >> Earlier this week I received a Facebook event invitation. I was slightly confused by the title as it was different than a typical event. Instead of a birthday party or fundraising event, this was a missing person alert. Beau Butschke of Wisconsin has not been seen or heard from since the evening of Thursday, July 14th. Since the creation of the Facebook event, over 25,000 people have been invited in an effort to help spread the word of his disappearance; this number is rapidly growing. The wall on the event is incredibly active with attendees providing suggestions of what they can do to help the investigation. Many have taken it upon themselves to call area hospitals and salvage yards regarding his missing vehicle. Local and National media as well as local police and fire departments have been contacted by people about the Facebook event. Flyers and T-shirts have been created and distributed throughout the area and posts are placed on other highly populated area Facebook pages like the Wisconsin State Fair page. These people are coming together to think of anything and everything that can be done and thinking of different highly populated places to assist in getting the word out in the hope someone, somewhere will know something. As I read through the event wall posts and learn about all of the different things these people are doing to try and find him, I canâ€™t help but think to myself â€œHow do the officers feel about the peopleâ€™s efforts to help? Are these efforts welcomed by law enforcement or is it an annoyance?â€ Facebook has become a great communication tool but are events, groups, and pages like this welcomed by law enforcement or would you rather people leave these matters in the hands of the professionals?