HUTCHINSON, Kansas --
A new software program is changing the way law enforcement uses social networking and it's made in Kansas.
How you can be a 'Witness.'
"We got officers out looking for cars, somebody else interviewing a lady and other officers out there looking on Facebook," explains Captain Steve Lutz with the Reno County Sheriff's Department.
Social networking has already had an impact on law enforcement.
Now that impact has the potential to double the effectiveness of deputies in Reno County.
"You have a lot of people that just want to do the right thing," says Captain Lutz.
And they can with 'Witness.'
"It's only limited by your imagination about what we can use it with."
It's a software program that lets you share what you see with law enforcement.
A modern day Andy Taylor...from the Andy Griffith Show.
"When you show up to a scene..what happened? I have all the stuff in my witness account. Can I share it with you?"
41 Reno County deputies are trying out the new software that was created by one of their own.
"They see how the structure of the information benefits them, expedites their processes for gathering information for anything somebody would witness," explains creator Jeremy Couch.
He was once a Reno County deputy and knew the process of paperwork was tedious.
So he created a program that makes it simple.
"I could search for a tattoo on a subject's hands that drives a blue Chevy pickup and come up with a possible suspect just by information that was being shared through the Witness network," explains Couch.
The software helps more than law enforcement.
It can help businesses prevent shoplifting.
Reno County hopes it will help rural co-ops find the culprits of copper thefts from irrigation equipment.
"When you go to the salvage yards and say 'Hey, did you take any of this kind of wire?' and they say, 'Well what kind?' Well if the farmer takes a picture and shares it on his Witness, that'll help the officer that much quicker," says Captain Lutz.
"It's just a matter of getting it out to the public and accessible I think is what's gonna be, as it takes off and word is spread I think it's gonna be a great tool for us," explains Detective Diana Skomal.
A tool this Kansan hopes grows from it's Reno County start to become the next big social networking tool.
"It means a lot to me to give back to this community and help out with the crime reduction," says Couch.
There's also a mobile version of the software available for smart phones.
For more information about the program you can find a link here
An individual subscription to the software will run you just under $6.00 a year.
Corporate packages are also available.