Twitter isn’t just one thing. It’s not only a tool for journalists, a marketing platform, or a social network. It has as many uses as users, really, and law enforcement has been one segment of society that’s found innovative ways to use Twitter. Here are three examples of law enforcement using Twitter to keep the peace.
Seattle police have begun using Twitter to keep tabs on stolen cars, according to a report from the Washington Post.
The Seattle police department will be tweeting information about stolen cars in the city, a problem that has grown to epidemic proportions – nearly 10 cars are stolen every day. They will tweet the license plate, color, year, make, model and body style, but will not include any personal identifying information. The department is encouraging anyone who thinks they found a stolen car tweeted by the department to contact police, but not to approach its occupants.
The Maidenhead Advisor, a local paper, reports that its neighborhood police officer will be tweeting information to keep people up-to-date on the safety of their community.
It’s a simple move, but effective: the police team provides a little transparency to the community, and they get possible leads and increased trust in return.
Tweets from the Beat
New Zealand-based Stuff.co.nz reports that local officers have been tasked with tweeting about their day, in order to amp up recruitment efforts.
A dog handler, a general duties officer and a community constable tweeted real accounts of their work lives on the front line of law enforcement. Since they are targeting young adults with their recruitment efforts, Twitter was a natural place to reach out.
Law enforcement is using Twitter in innovative, exciting ways. Although there is the possibility that sensitive information or inappropriate exchanges might get out, these three instances show that Twitter offers police departments a unique avenue for constructive communication with the public.