With nearly everyone from retirees to school kids walking around the smart phones, Escalon Police Department officials want to use technology to stay connected with the community.
“We have gone live with our Facebook, Nixle and Twitter accounts,” Interim Police Chief Mike Harden said.
The goal, he said, is to create a better link between citizens and the department, with up to date alerts, advisories and crime prevention tips. All the social media avenues should help communication efforts, Harden said, and he wants it to be a two-way street with officers and the public interacting even more.
Officer Anthony Hardgraves has taken the lead in bringing the department ‘on line’ and he said there are many ways for residents to join in.
“The benefit will be that the police department will now have a means of communicating with a large number of citizens at once,” Hardgraves explained. “It will be utilized to share information about the police department, city events, and criminal activity. I think it will be a good thing for the citizens that elect to follow us.”
By signing up for one or more of the social media sites, residents will be updated automatically on noteworthy events in and around the community.
Hardgraves said residents can access the sites by doing the following:
“The hope is that we will be able to work with the community to make Escalon a safer place,” Hardgraves said of the ultimate goal of getting connected with the citizens. “We will post information about crime trends, so citizens can be more cognizant of how to protect themselves, and we will post pictures of suspects we are looking for in hopes of closing more cases.”
Many departments throughout the region, from CHP to the San Joaquin County Sheriff, are already utilizing these tools, added Hardgraves, and he is pleased that the city is following suit.
“Most of the surrounding agencies have already been using one or more of these services,” he said. “The Escalon Police Department’s presence on social media is in its infancy, so be patient with us while we work out the kinks.
“If anyone has any suggestions on how we can make improvements, feel free to let us know.”
Harden said the social media is just one effort the department is undertaking to be more proactive and they will be unveiling more efforts in the weeks to come. Watch The Times for information on the new programs as well as crime prevention tips.