GovBytes: Philly Police Officers Use Personal Twitter Accounts

Philadelphia police are packing … smartphones, that is. The Philly police department is arming 15 officers with Twitter accounts, so that they may tweet updates while on duty and interact with the community. The departments communications director, Karima Zedan, claims that the benefits will be that officers will maintain a positive presence in the community via Twitter and be able to update citizens on public safety and area crime.

The department already unknowingly had one detective using Twitter as a means of fighting crime, Joe Murray (@ppdjoemurray). Murray has developed a strong base on Twitter, with 14 hundred followers. He will be helping the other officers adapt to using Twitter while on duty.

Philadelphia Police to Start Tweeting at Work

Zedan claims that though there will definitely be critics to the program, it will ultimately aid police in doing their duty,

“I think it will help them become connected to their communities much quicker than perhaps they expect. I also think if people know who is on the other end — if they can put a face to whose on that account — they’re more likely to give more information when it comes to solving a crime. Joe Murray has provided an excellent example of that. He’s gotten a lot of tips.”

The department hopes to expand the program, maybe not to every officer, but certainly so that there is a daily presence by officers on Twitter.

Do you think that Twitter can actually help fight crime? Could it become a distraction from, say, policing?

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