The broad spectrum of people who use social media ranges anywhere from your average teenager, to your average grandmother, to even law enforcement. Most times, police in our community use Twitter and Facebook to alert the public about things happening in our area, but East Lansing and Bath Township Police are also using it to gain a following, to help fight crime.
It’s a social media showdown. Two local police departments using Facebook to connect with those in the community, sharing important messages in a unique way.
“It seems like every traffic stop I’ve been on, ‘hey I like your Facebook page ya know’, and it’s like I appreciate it but ya know, it doesn’t mean you’re getting out of a ticket,” says Bath Township Officer Trenton Bailey.
While humor is played into some of the videos, Officer Bailey says, they use things like crime stats within the city to create content to inform the public. For example, how to park your car properly. Then, the officers head out to film a little informative video, that Officer Bailey says, attracts a big audience.
“A lot of people will contact us with little problems or something they don’t think is worthy of a 911 call, but it’s actually helped us make breaks in cases where just that one little piece of information they messaged to our Facebook page has really turned out helpful,” says Officer Bailey.
But officers in Bath Township aren’t the only ones using the power of social media to take a simple reminder and turn it into a shareable moment. Just a few miles away, East Lansing Police created a social media team of their own, aiming to bump up their community outreach.
“Hopefully by seeing these videos we can build a closer bond with our community members and kind of build trust with our officers and our department,” says ELPD Officer David Dalen.
Officer Dalen says, though they may have fun playing jokes on Bath Township, social media is just another way to connect with the community on important issues, while reminding them, police officers are humans too.
“If you can get information out there through Facebook, it can get everybody out there on the same page and just make our community a lot safer,” says Officer Bailey.
The use of social media can be a powerful tool, and these departments are creating content to not only fight crime, but to keep the community engaged, and connected with their local cops.