RHINELANDER - Social media can serve as a great tool for law enforcement. But at times it can also be a problem.
On Thursday, the Rhinelander Police Department shared a concerning Facebook post in hopes of getting some accurate information.
The police department became aware of a post made in a page on Facebook. The post describes a suspicious white van patrolling a neighborhood off Driscoll Road.
The author of the original post claimed two men were in the van approaching children.
Police Chief Lloyd Gauthier says any suspicious activity should be reported directly to the police department.
"We need to be able to have that face-to-face conversation so we can ask those specific questions so that we get facts and not just a bunch of hearsay or rumor mill," said Gauthier. "We really need to know exactly what the information is."
Gauthier says the department doesn't monitor Facebook 24-seven, and if someone reports suspicious activity over the phone immediately, it allows police to respond to the situation quickly.
"Our mission statement is to work in partnership with our community and we value the fact that people want to share that information with us on social media," said Gauthier. "But again, there's a time and a place about, 'How should I share that?'"
Gauthier added that they did eventually speak with the original author of the post and that police are looking into that situation.