How police investigate social media threats

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - With the controversy of the Kelsey Berreth case and its ties to Idaho, many have gone online to express their opinions, and others, some threats.

So how does law enforcement take care of social media threats? Sgt. Luke Allen, with Twin Falls Police, said a victim needs to come forward if they are receiving threats.

"We can receive reports from someone else who’s part of a group that says someone’s being harassing or insulting over social media," Allen said.

In some cases, officials will have to file for a subpoena from the social media network to find more information and investigate those threats.

"We don’t have a task force in our area. There are task forces ... other agencies maybe monitoring social media stuff, but as far as we have, we don’t have a person designated to searching through social media, but we do need to have someone report it. We do need to have a victim," he explained.

He said a lot of times, people won't come forward because they might not think it's that serious.

"Take it seriously. If someone threatens you in anyway, take it seriously because if we don't do anything and something happens later, we're playing catch up. If we can get ahead of it, it helps us a lot," he said.

Allen said there are different tiers and levels as far as what crimes can be charged with regarding on threats over social media.

He recommends taking screenshots or a photo of the threat before the person posting them takes them down.

"Who cares if the person knows you’re saving this, you’re coming to the police to make this report anyway," he said.

If a threat online comes from another state, officials would have to contact the authorities in that other jurisdiction to investigate.

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