Philly’s New Tweet Police

Concerned Philadelphia residents without a Twitter account may want to consider creating one in the coming weeks, that is, if they want to keep up with the goings on of the Philadelphia Police Department.

This week, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey stated that a small group of on-duty officers will start tweeting soon to field inquiries from the public.

The plan is meant to increase communication between neighborhoods and officers in addition to allowing anonymous tips and photos to be uploaded to the PPD’s website. According to CBS Philly, Commissioner Ramsey told City Council, “We’ve got to use everything available to us. We’ve got to leverage technology to be a force multiplier to help us.”

Using Twitter to engage the communities they patrol might not be a bad idea, and some suggest it could help to foster a more trusting relationship between officers and the public.

Officer Joe Murray seems to have started the Twitter trend among police. He began tweeting a while back, answering questions about police presence in certain areas and reporting incidents to inform the public. Though the PPD initially banned him from tweeting, Murray’s account, which has over 1,200 followers, is now active again and officials are using his successful social media outreach as a model for the future.

Karima Zedan, director of communications for the Philadelphia Police Department, plans to have Murray train a group of 15 officers in order to set up some basic guidelines to ensure victims’ identities and other sensitive information is not released to the public. Detectives, captains and officers of other ranks will be also be encourage to tweet.

NPR reports that Philly’s “tweet police” will be the first of its in the country, but Officer Murray apparently sees it as just another part of the job. “Going in and introducing yourself to business owners, residents — it’s the same thing. It’s just a more modern version of it. So people know who you are, you know, and they’re going to trust you

Source: NPR | Photo: Kimberly Paynter

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Arielle Hontscharik

A college student in Philadelphia and aspiring writer and photographer, Arielle can usually be found reading and writing in nearby coffee shops or off exploring the wilderness in Pennsylvania's State Parks.

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