(WAND) - Social media is popular among kids, teens and adults. However, it's becoming more popular among law enforcement agencies across the state of Illinois.
Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram are social apps that keep people connected to the families and friends. However, law enforcement agencies are using social apps to inform, help and connect with their communities.
For Tropper Tracy Lillard, Facebook started as a way for Illinois State Police District 10 to inform drivers and community members are about crashes and weather condition.
"Three or four years ago I asked if our department could start doing a little more on social media. Specifically it was a way to notify the public quickly about a crash or road closure. However, it evolved to much more than that," explains Tropper Tracy.
Trooper Tracy took the social lead and started posting videos and sharing photos of work District 10 was doing along Illinois roadways. Numerous videos the page show Trooper Tracy in Snapchat filters. Each one of the videos she makes shows her smiling and laughing all while giving a reminder to drive safe.
"Now we can use this social media tool to engage the public and to educate the public. We also have fun while doing it," explains Trooper Tracy.
Illinois State Police District 10 have over 50,000 likes on Facebook. Some of their posts reaching people across the state and the world.
"I go into a restaurant. I go into a grocery store with my children and people are like Trooper Tracy, Trooper Tracy. They know who I am," laughs Trooper Tracy.
Across the state in Dewitt County, Sheriff Mike Walker says his department is jumping on the social media train. Sheriff Walker says his department uses social media the same way other departments do, to get the word out fast.
"During the recent snow storms, I was out and able to give updates on a regular basis. That helped a lot of people in our community and outside the community that were going to be traveling through here," explains Sheriff Walker.
Both agencies say they've been able to make a social connection, but they've also been able to make a personal connection. Trooper Tracy and Sheriff Walker say social media has been an ice breaker and people feel more comfortable around them.
"It loosens things up. It (Facebook) let's people know that we are actual people, real people and when we do run into them it's kind of an ice breaker," explains Sheriff Walker.
"Anytime that we can do community relations on social media and build that trust with the community it's for the benefit," explains Trooper Tracy.
Whether it's a reminder to wear a seat belt or turn the headlights on, both agencies feel social media is going to make an impact for the future.
"I can write you a ticket on the side of the road and it might not change your life, but maybe I can tell you a story about why that seatbelt is so important. Tell you the stuff I saw and the emotions that I felt at that crash and maybe that will change your mind," explains Trooper Tracy.