Cops Offer Virtual Ride-Alongs Via Twitter
This New Year's Eve, rather than overdoing it at the local bar and chancing a non-voluntary ride the in the back of a police cruiser, why not enjoy the services of a designated driver, then login to Twitter and find out who else didn't fair so well.
Increasingly, police departments are using the power of social media to bring you and I along for the ride, in special broadcasted rides in their cars, called Tweet-alongs. As the tweets flow in, citizens will learn just what its local cops are up to, and hopefully gain a greater respect for law enforcement's ongoing efforts to keep us all safe.
Citing the amount of hard-earned tax dollars spend on government agencies, Rapid City Police Chief Steve Allender told the Associated Press. "There should be a way for those government agencies to let the public know what they're getting for their money."
Desiring a greater level of transparency the South Dakota department set up its own Twitter account for the effort, and started offering tweet-alongs a few months ago.
Rapid City is not alone in providing virtual ride-alongs with its patrol officers. Seattle, WA, Kansas City, Mo., Arlington, Fort Worth and Carrollton, TX, as well as Las Vegas, NV also offer its citizens the simple method of keeping an eye on what its police officers go through on a daily (and nightly) basis.
The Twitter-based service is not limited to the U.S., either. Niagara Regional Police Service of Ontario, Canada offered its first virtual ride-along on Twitter this August.
Miami, FL is asking for suggestions for its first tweet-along.
According to a survey done of 600 agencies across the United States, more than 92% use social media in one form or another, according to the International Association of Chiefs of Police's Center for Social Media. Senior Program Manager for IACP Nancy Kolb says tweet-alongs are a "growing trend" among social-savvy police departments.
To find out if any local police departments are taking Twitter users along for a patrol, search Twitter for keywords related to your PD and the hashtag #tweetalong.