PORTAGE, Ind. (CBS) – Call it a sign of the times: Police in Portage, Ind. are regularly following up on threats of violence posted online.
“Watch out Portage – people may be dying soon,” reads one message posted online for anyone to see.
“In today’s world you can’t run the chance of not investigating that,” Portage Police Chief Troy Williams tells CBS 2’s Chris Martinez.
Williams says his officers are now consistently investigating threats on social media. One or two messages a week are flagged by authorities for following up, he says.
The threats range from bullying among teens (“Watch your back, you know ‘cause I’m gonna kick your butt”) to far more sinister thoughts (“I’m gonna have the gratitude of killing off a few people and then kill some judges and cops”).
Police say the latter post, allegedly made by Brian Aldaz, put him in jail. Just days later, Eric Rizley’s words also got him cuffed.
Williams’ message to young people online: “Be responsible about what you post.”
“When you state you’re going to go on a rampage and bang bang, to shoot somebody, you’re going to get a response from the police department,” he says.
The chief says he’d like to see parents become part of the solution by keeping an eye on their kids’ online activities.