Morgan County Sheriff’s Office launches Wanted Wednesday
The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office recently launched a new initiative in an effort to resolve some of the county’s “substantial” number of outstanding warrants: Wanted Wednesday, a social media campaign that shares information about those warrants.
“We launched Wanted Wednesday to encourage those with warrants to turn themselves in and to ask for tips from the public on locating the individuals,” PIO Mike Swafford said. “The goal is to allow the justice system to move forward.”
Two weeks into the campaign, Swafford said 70 percent of the warrants have been executed, three have turned themselves, and 13 arrests have been made.
Wanted Wednesday is happening on Facebook, where the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office has a following of nearly 45,000 and a weekly reach between 100,000–250,000.
Swafford said there are consistently 100,000 warrants throughout the county for various violations, from simple traffic violations to major felonies.
“Warrants don’t go away unless they are executed, so we have well over 100,000 at any time,” he said.
Swafford said social media allows the sheriff’s office to relay public safety information while also connecting with citizens.
“We focus on giving consistent, accurate information so the public can make the best decision for themselves,” he said. “In turn, we use it to listen to what the public is concerned about in their area. We read every comment, message, tweet and tip.”
Wanted Wednesday is not the first citizen-based campaign the MCSO has used. In 2019, the office launched TipLink with the goal of giving the community a way to share their concerns and information.
Swafford said since TipLink’s inception, the MCSO has received 583 tips and has been able to take action on 273.
“No one knows a neighborhood or street better than those who live there,” he said. “Their tips allow us to have additional insight that allows us to know what is going on and where to focus our efforts.”
The office has a Most Wanted section on its website with 175 people listed.
According to the sheriff’s office, it will not contact anyone by phone or ask for funds to satisfy a warrant, which is a common phone scam.
Mariann Acardi contributed to this report.