With social media putting target audiences just a click away, it’s no wonder so many businesses and organizations are ditching traditional ways of reaching the masses for Facebook and Twitter. Tapping into social media helps groups reach out to those they never could before, and now even local law enforcement is getting in on the action—including the West Deptford Police Department.
With the @WDPolice Twitter account up and running since Sept. 27, West Deptford Police Chief Craig Mangano says the account helps police communicate with residents in a very timely fashion.
“[It’s an] initiative to help us get out to the public,” says Mangano.
Using Hurricane Sandy as a pilot for the newly established account, the West Deptford Police Department sent out multiple tweets regarding the storm, the shelter at the high school and road closures. Mangano says the Hurricane Sandy tweets came back with a decent response, as many were then retweeted (Twitter talk for sending out the same message) through followers' personal accounts.
The account is run internally, with one main officer assigned to the account at all times. So far, @WDPolice has about 60 followers, and Mangano urges all residents who have a Twitter account to follow the account. Non-Twitter users can also follow the action by going directly to the account's page.
WDPolice will soon tweet everything from traffic alerts to crime alerts. West Deptford's foray into social media has a twofold purpose: help alert the community and provide a resource for residents to offer information about a particular crime or incident. That strategy has worked out well for prolific law enforcement tweeters, the Gloucester Township Police Department. The department's account has 800 followers, and police credit social media with helping to solve multiple crimes.
The West Deptford Police Department is in the process of building a Facebook page, which will serve a similar purpose as the Twitter account. Mangano said he expects the page to be running by next month or shortly after.