Play stupid games, win stupid prizes…
The Brevard Country Sheriff’s Office in Florida has created in unorthodox method of engaging the public in an effort to crackdown on crime in their area and to apprehended individuals wanted for breaking the law.
Showing that the law enforcement community can have a sense of humor too, the ‘Wheel of Future‘ themed game show spin-off takes place on the department’s public Facebook account weekly and encourages the viewers to turn-in the week’s
luckily winner unfortunate loser.
According to reports, the ‘Wheel of Fugitive‘ program has been running for about 18 months and led to dozens of arrests, as well as increasingly the amount of public tips coming into the sheriff’s office.
Well play sir, well played…
The game which features a spinning wheel, includes images of wanted individuals instead of the traditional prizes and according to Sheriff Wayne Ivey, “When we put someone up on the ‘Wheel of Fugitive,’ our citizens start sending us messages and contacting us right away.”
However, law-abiding citizens are not the only ones taking notice to the unorthodox method of policing.
“The fugitives watch it. It’s amazing how many of them, when they’re arrested, say, ‘Yeah, I saw it’ or ‘my family notified me about it.’ In fact, we’ve had fugitives that say, ‘Yeah, I watch it every week to see if I’m on the wheel,” Ivey explains.
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Every Tuesday at 8 p.m. it’s time for “Wheel of Fugitive” in Brevard County, Florida.
Flashy video graphics shoot across the sheriff’s department’s Facebook page, accompanied by a rock soundtrack and an image of a spinning roulette wheel bedecked with 10 fugitives’ mugshots. Smiling, portly and bespectacled Sheriff Wayne Ivey spins the wheel and, presto — this week’s fugitive is singled out for attention.
“Just do the right thing, turn yourself and we certainly appreciate it,” he said in a recent episode. “We’ll see you next time on Wheel of Fugitive.”
He says the humorous, game-show approach has been successful. Many of the pictured fugitives have been turned in via tips from the public and some have turned themselves in, he says.
“We want for them to do the right thing and turn themselves in,” Ivey said. “A number of them have, a number of their family turns them in. Usually within a very short period of time their inner circle has alerted them to the fact if they didn’t see it that they are on ‘Wheel of Fugitive.'”
Ivey says the concept has been well received in the community of about 600,000. He judges the response by the number of Facebook comments and shares and also by the comments he receives when out doing public speaking.
“Hardly any place I go speak or I’m at somebody doesn’t say, “I watch the ‘Wheel of Fugitive,'” Ivey said. “They see the value of not only trying to get the fugitive off the street but engaging the community in doing so.”
Ivey said he initially rolled out the idea of the “Wheel of Fugitive,” inspired by the popular game show “Wheel Fortune,” during a speech to the publicly shortly after he took over as sheriff in 2012. The idea got a warm reception.
Thoughts on this creative method of increasing public engagement? Let us know in the comment section below.