Thursday, December 25, 2014

Cops and social media: A good combo?

Cops and social media aren't always a good mix, but we've noticed that some cops have been using the Internet to reach out to residents and do their jobs better.

Cops and social media: A good combo?

Cops and social media aren't always a good mix, but we've noticed that some cops have been using the Internet to reach out to residents and do their jobs better.

Take Southwest Detective Joseph Murray, who, as @TheFuzz9143, used to tweet about crime suspects and recent arrests. Last week, the Daily News reported that his followers, who say his tweets made them feel safe, have been fighting to get him back on Twitter (he hasn't tweeted since January, when he learned he needed to get permission from Police Commissioner Charles Ramsay to use his official title on social media sites). There's almost 200 signatures on a petition to get him tweeting again.

Over in Fishtown, 26th District Capt. Michael Cram also takes an electronic approach, though he'd rather get on a message board ("I don't even know how to tweet," he tells us). He's an active member of the neighborhood's online forums, answering questions, posting crime stats and encouraging people to contact him.

"It's just another way to deliver services better to our customers," Cram says.

He started posting on the message boards after a town hall meeting last November, where residents talked about other ways the police district could keep the community informed. Cram says it's also an opportunity to correct any misinformation he might see on the boards.

His participation also shows a human side of the district, like in this thread, where Cram joins in remembering Fishtowners who passed away last year.

If there's any question how people feel about Cram's involvement with the boards, just check out this whole thread dedicated to thanking him.

Cram says social media helps him do his job better. He's met a lot of neighbors through his participation on the forums, and the district needs all the help they can get.

"We can't do it on our own," he says.

Let us know how the cops in your neighborhood are doing at howl@phillynews.com, @phillyhowl on Twitter or 215-854-5855.

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Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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