LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – Law enforcement used an unexpected piece of technology to arrest suspects during the investigation of a murder in Lowndes County.
“What we’re looking for is the information and if the information comes to us anonymously, and we can solve a crime, we’re good with that,” Lowndes County Sheriff Eddie Hawkins said.
A fatal shooting in Lowndes County left investigators searching for three suspects.
That search was made a little easier thanks to a doorbell that captured a picture of what is believed to be the getaway vehicle.
Sheriff Eddie Hawkins said the footage from a Doorbell Ring helped them find their suspects.
“When we have a crime in an area, we can send out a request to citizens who have this doorbell video service and they can opt-in or out and provide us with the video footage that might, could help us with our investigation,” Hawkins said.
Early this year, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department signed an agreement with Ring doorbells that would allow those Ring owners to share footage anonymously with law enforcement.
“It keeps us from having to go out here and knock on doors and talk to citizens in their neighborhoods where they’re kind of afraid to share information with law enforcement. That way law enforcement is not seen at their house, and there are no repercussions or, you know, anything coming back to the citizens, ”Hawkins said.
Even though anonymous tip apps have been available in the past, Sheriff Hawkins said the ring doorbell is easy to use and extremely helpful.
“This way, it’s a simple click of a button, they can get an email or text message from the ring doorbell that says‘ hey, we’ve had a crime in your area and the sheriff’s department wants to view your footage. Is it ok for them to view your footage? ‘ And they can say yes or no, ”Hawkins said. “And if they say yes, that information is automatically uploaded to a link that we have access to at the sheriff’s department.”
With technology constantly improving, the Sheriff’s Department hopes folks’ willingness to share their information will improve as well.
“I think it could be a great tool for citizens if there’s some kind of property theft or damage to property or something. It’s going to capture that footage that can be useful in apprehending a suspect or making an arrest, ”Hawkins said.
Sheriff Hawkins added that any doorbells that have video recording capabilities can share videos with the sheriff’s department through the Golden Triangle Crime Stoppers or the P3 Tips app.