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First responders urging Mainers to stop following scanner pages

Police, fire officials say social media scanner pages doing more harm than good

MAINE, USA — It seems like just about every county or city has a scanner page. While it may seem harmless for someone to post what they're hearing on the police scanner, officials told NEWS CENTER Maine it sometimes can negatively affect the way law enforcement does its job.

"Some of these pages are not legitimate pages," Lewiston Police Lt. Dave St. Pierre said.

RELATED: Local scanner pages, pros and cons

Just last week, Jay Fire & Rescue posted on its Facebook page that these scanner pages are a problem, writing in part, "... spreading of false information can cause police or fire agencies to have a more difficult job during a scene or investigation after."

Officials from other departments agree.

"It concerns us because people actually believe what they read," St. Pierre said.

We've reported on these scanner pages in the past and talked to law enforcement agencies across the state about how these scanner pages affect their work.

"On a serious investigation they might report information we don't want out there," Bangor Police Lt. Brent Beaulieu said in a February 2020 interview.

NEWS CENTER Maine has also spoken to the people behind the pages. Many of them call it a hobby. But now, first responders are urging Mainers to get their news from reliable sources.

"The news prides itself in giving out legit truthful information right, and some people that are on social media platforms pride themselves on just getting a reaction," St. Pierre said.

Portland police also wrote in a statement:

"Social Media pages and groups can be a source of misinformation that can be frustrating not only for officers, but for those who are not even involved with a crime. For example, a door bell camera image was widely circulated online following an attack on a person--and that person in the picture had no connection to the crime. If anyone has any information or evidence to share regarding a criminal investigation, that information should be shared with law enforcement so as to verify its authenticity and accuracy--and not distributed on social media to prevent false accusations. Inaccurate comments have real consequences. Similarly, audio from a scanner is real-time communication that often involves unconfirmed details for officers' information for their safety and of those to whom they're responding--and should not be rebroadcast or publicized because it's not an official account of any incident."