Phone Calls? People Are Now Using Facebook to Get Bailed Out of Jail

Beverly Police were so surprised by the move, after they arrested a teen, that they posted about it on their own Facebook page.

It’s a sign of the times, said Beverly Police Lt. Timothy Hegarty.

After a 19-year-old party-goer was arrested at a large gathering last weekend, and couldn’t get through to friends or family via phone calls from the police station, he did what Millennials know to do best—turn to social media for help. “He made a Facebook post, and after the post [went up], friends contacted the police dispatcher and asked what the bail was. They came in, paid it, and he was released,” said the officer.

Hegarty said in his 10 years in Beverly, he has never seen anyone use Facebook as a means to scrape up money to make bail. He said he assumes it’s because people no longer remember numbers “like they used to,” and instead seamlessly plug in contact information into smartphones thinking they will have continuous access to it without any problems.

“I have an iPhone like everyone else, but I still remember numbers because I’m old,” he said. “But you young guys, you put the number in and forget about it, and you don’t know what the number is. It’s definitely a sign of the times [to use Facebook].”

The situation was so foreign to officers that they addressed it on their own Facebook page in the days following the arrest.
They wrote:

One of this weekend’s arrestees was unable to reach anyone by phone for bail money after several unanswered calls. They requested in desperation to be allowed to post their need for bail money to their Facebook page. We are now officially in a new world.

The suspect was arrested as a result of a large house party where roughly 100 to 150 people were gathered, police said. Hegarty said it required the help of several departments from surrounding communities to come out and help control the situation.

The arrestee, he said, was using verbal insults towards officers at the scene of the large house party, and was subsequently arrested for being disorderly. The arrestee tried a few phone calls, but when his attempts were unsuccessful, he asked officers for access to his smartphone to post a status update on Facebook.

Hegarty said now that the news is out, he wouldn’t be surprised if more people tried the same thing. “Usually you can get a hold of somebody and you can leave messages. I’m sure, not in the too distant future, everyone is going to be thinking of this,” he said. “It was unusual. But it’s not the 1950’s where you get one phone call. We try and help [people] out as much as we can.”


Steve Annear Steve Annear, Digital Writer at Boston Magazine sannear@bostonmagazine.com


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