ALBANY, N.Y. – Police departments across the country are trending to release more information about open cases to the public with the hope that people can help them make quick arrests.
The tactic worked in Troy as detectives searched for fugitive and accused child abuser Jesse Sawyer Jr. Now the Federal Bureau of Investigation is taking advantage of the public's help.
Police would withhold information in fear of compromising a case. But when it comes to catching sexual predators, releasing more information has become key to catching suspects.
Troy Police Captain John Cooney said police used to withhold information because authorities believed they could solve a crime without bothering the public, but now that trend is changing.
"By partnering with [the public] to help find the bad guy, it's become hugely successful," Cooney said.
The latest attempt by the FBI is to work with a man only known as John Doe 28. He is believed to be in his thirties or forties, and his location is unknown.
"Call in your slightest suspicions because the worst case scenario is that we go nowhere with it," Cooney encouraged.
The FBI hopes the picture they released of John Doe 28 will lead to an arrest. The picture shows his face, the fish logo on his shirt and a framed picture in the background.
"We want that picture out there because the public is just phenomenally effective as far as getting back to us and saying, ‘That's my neighbor,'" Cooney said.
This strategy recently helped the Troy Police Department catch Jesse Sawyer Jr. Sawyer is facing the federal charge of Production of Child Pornography.
"We've seen it in Troy just recently. That's how we catch these predators," Cooney continued. "We wanted to drive this worm back into the hole. We wanted him to know that we were going to be on the lookout."
Troy Police received a call from a man who saw a Wanted picture of Sawyer on Facebook.
"They told us point blank – he signed in with his own name, here's where he's staying, here's what he's driving," Cooney explained.
Florida police eventually made the arrest.
"In this case it was a home run," Cooney said. "They saw him, called it in, and Jesse was in custody within hours."
Cooney said the department had more than 100 tips on Sawyer within three to five days of releasing information. He said every tip, no matter how tiny or seemingly insignificant, should be called into police.
John Doe 28 is suspected of exploiting a child.
Anyone with information should submit a tip online at https://tips.fbi/gov/, or call the FBI's toll-free tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI.
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