RICHMOND – The Virginia State Police is expanding its digital footprint in the social media environment with the launch of an official Instagram account. The Virginia State Police account at instagram.com/virginia_state_police is now “live” on the photo-sharing app platform and at 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, will feature as its first post – a sneak preview of the names selected for the Department’s two newest bloodhounds.

The Virginia State Police established itself on YouTube in 2009 and Facebook in 2010. A @VSPPIO Twitter page followed five years later. Today, the state police engages with more than 180,000 Facebook followers, approximately 13,500 Twitter followers and 1,500 YouTube viewers worldwide.

“Adding Instagram to the Virginia State Police social media portfolio enables us to reach a much greater audience with our key traffic safety messaging, crime prevention outreach, investigative alerts and recruitment efforts…and, of course, more photos of our canines,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “We look forward to engaging with the public via Instagram and sharing even more about the state police and our mission in service and safety to others.”

The State Police announced at 11:00 AM Thursday morning the two new bloodhounds will be named “Liberty” and “Justice”. In mid-November, state police invited the public to send in via Facebook their favorite names for the floppy-eared siblings. The Department’s K9 Training Unit deliberated the more than 3,300 pairs of suggested names and narrowed them down to five for final consideration. Just shy of 1,500 Facebook followers cast their votes.