September 25, 2012

Pa. hostage call prompts social media training

Joe Mandak Associated Press
Jc Schisler photo

FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2012 photo, Klein Michael Thaxton, center, is lead into Pittsburgh Police headquarters after being apprehended without incident at Three Gateway Center in Pittsburgh, where held a businessman hostage inside the office building for more than five hours and posting Facebook updates during the standoff. Pittsburgh police plan to train their officers to be fluent in social media, joining other departments nationwide, days after the incident.
(Full-size photo)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh police plan to train their officers to be fluent in social media days after a man armed with a hammer and a kitchen knife used a hostage’s computer to post Facebook messages lamenting his troubles.

Klein Michael Thaxton is accused of picking a hostage at random in a downtown office tower and keeping authorities at bay for hours before surrendering.

There is some reflection about whether officials did the right thing by not immediately shutting down the suspect’s Facebook page. But they say they want to make sure officers are prepared for such judgment calls down the road.

Lt. Jason Lando acted as a coach to the primary negotiator and says that social media is “something we will train for in the future.”

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