KS Corrections Dept. Turns To Facebook To Nab Absconders

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Authorities are turning to social media to find people who are hiding from the law.

The Kansas Department of Corrections debuted a new feature Monday on its Facebook page. Each week, they'll feature a parole absconder, including the offender's photo, physical description and case information.

The first wanted offender featured is Harlan Hurst, who was convicted of burglary in Wyandotte County.

The Corrections department has about 170 people who have failed to maintain a required level of contact with their parole officer. Agency officials say the number is down from more than 400 three years ago.

Complete news release from the KS Dept. of Corrections:
The Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) is enhancing its focus on the safe apprehension of parole absconders through the debut of a new weekly feature on the agency’s Facebook page. Parole absconders are offenders who have released from prison with a prescribed time for which they must maintain a level of supervised contact with their parole officer, and have failed to do so. A warrant is then issued for their arrest.

Each Monday, the KDOC will feature a current parole absconder, stressing details about the offender and asking for the public’s assistance in finding and apprehending the parolee.

“Over the past three years, we’ve brought the number of active absconders from over 400 down to about 170, which is a big improvement. However, we’d like to get that number even lower,” said Jeremy Barclay, KDOC Communications Director. “The agency’s effective use of social media and growing list of social media followers allows us a new outlet to use in our pursuit of these offenders.”

“The EAI unit does a good job of managing and tracking around 6,000 parolees every day, which requires careful prioritization,” said John Smith, Director of the KDOC’s Enforcement, Apprehension, and Investigation (EAI) unit. “The majority of our absconders are from within the past 18 months so we feel that the trail is fresh enough for the public to have tips and knowledge that can be provided to us, and aid in the apprehension of these offenders.”

The first absconder to be featured is Harlan L Hurst (#63292), a burglar from Kansas City, Kansas who absconded in May 2012. His profile can be found on both the agency’s Kansas Department of Corrections Facebook and KASPER (http://www.doc.ks.gov/kasper/) websites.

Please contact the KDOC’s EAI unit at 316.613.7222 if you have any information about the whereabouts of this or any parole absconder.