After sitting on the sidelines to check out how other police agencies used Twitter, we’re finally throwing our hats in the ring. You can find our official police department Twitter page at www.twitter.com/slmpd
. Yes, it is our official page despite the fact that you do not see the “verified” sign. Apparently Twitter is still working on that, so let’s hope it is there soon. Law enforcement agencies can be notoriously old fashioned. If you know someone who’s been a police officer for a while, you’ve probably heard them use the expression “good old fashioned police work.” I’ll never knock that. Good old fashioned police work has caught some notorious criminals. Yet there are things that we can incorporate that can help us to connect to you. This Twitter page is one of them.
We’re still deciding how best to use the department’s Twitter but here is what we do know. The “tweets” are being posted by our staff that work with the media. Sometimes they will tweet things they think are important, many other times they will tweet things that I’ve asked them to talk about. When there are major traffic issues, the department’s Twitter page will mention them. Officers will also be asking that you help us to identify suspects from surveillance cameras so you can expect to see those tweets. To have exposure to such a broad audience will allow you to help us to make arrests more quickly. We will also tweet department announcements and news. However, there are also some things that you might not see on our page. As much as we would like to tweet very specific details about criminal incidents, there will be many times that we can’t. It’s not that we don’t want to tell you, it’s because we want to see criminals be convicted. Sometimes people focus so heavily on the arrest, they forget the other key part of the equation is the conviction. There are court rules regarding pre-trial publicity. The last thing we want to do is jeopardize any aspect of a criminal case because of something we’ve said on Twitter. So if you don’t see detailed information about certain crimes, that is why.
While I’m on the topic of technology, check out the Nixle service as well. The service allows us to send messages directly to your email account about criminal incidents, traffic incidents and community meetings. Go to the bottom of our homepage, www.slmpd.org
and click on the Nixle link.