‘Tweetalongs” give citizens an opportunity to tag along without inherent danger
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/31/2012 -- Various police department has begun to allow 'virtual ride-alongs' for those interested in the experience via Twitter.
The opportunity allows those interested in the daily flow of police work to gain some level of experience by getting a more up-close and personal look at the profession via “tweet-alongs”.
The new social media approach is to help inform the public about what it is a police department deals with on a daily basis in the United States as well as Canada. The department states the experience is just as informative as the real-life ride-along, but much less dangerous for citizens.
With the tweet-along comes the ability for curious citizens to hop onto their computer and take a look at what enforcement officers do for daily routines.
Tweet-alongs are typically scheduled for a particular number of hours with an office. Postings of regular updates to Twitter are provided by the enforcement individuals assigned to the experience. The tweets include photos, links to videos, as well as an array of activity updates. Everything is included in the tweetalongs, including the array of possible calls an enforcement office may receive, from responding to homicides to the casual noise complaints.
The department claims that virtual ride-alongs reach more individual at once and add transparency to the job as a whole.
"People spend hard-earned money on taxes to allow the government to provide services. That's police, fire, water, streets, the whole works, and there should be a way for those government agencies to let the public know what they're getting for their money," said Chief Steve Allender of the Rapid City Police Department in South Dakota, which started offering tweetalongs several months ago — https://twitter.com/rcpdtweetalong — after watching departments in Seattle, Kansas City, Mo., and Las Vegas do so.
Michael Taddesse, who works as a university career specialist in Arlington, Texas has been a part of several ride-alongs with police. He stated that he regularly follows multiple department that conduct the tweetalongs as a way to stay engaged.
"I think the only way to effectively combat crime is to have a community that is engaged and understands what's going on," he said.
Taddesse also noted that being on ride-alongs, where “you're out in the elements” are different than sitting behind a computer, as the danger is “dramatically decreased”. He added that in both cases, passengers gain information about the call, laws that may be included, and procedure.
For the police departments, tweet-alongs are another positive connectivity device with the community.
Over 92% of departments currently use social media, according to a survey that spanned 600 agencies within the continental United States. Nancy Kolb, a senior program manager for IACP, stated that tweetalongs were a “growing trend” amongst various departments.
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