Toledo police took social media to the streets Thursday, providing real-time online updates from a patrol unit as officers assisted at a traffic crash, took part in a foot chase and responded to a reported overdose.
The Toledo Police Department participated in a “tweet-along,” an interactive ride-along. Department spokesman Sgt. Kevan Toney rode along with a patrol unit during a shift and posting updates on social media so citizens could see a typical day in the life of an officer.
“The biggest goal is community outreach and engagement in the community,” Sergeant Toney said Thursday morning.
On Twitter updates were posted to the department’s account: @ToledoPolice.
And... Officer McCord, the other half of Unit 710. Testing out his body-camera. pic.twitter.com/UXjoWS3SoP— Toledo Police (@ToledoPolice) October 5, 2017
On Instagram Sergeant Toney uploaded posts to the department’s @Toledo_Police ‘story’.
Tweets throughout the shift showed officers in their morning briefing, getting ready to head out, and responded to calls throughout the day. In one series of tweets, officers are seen responding to a foot chase near Franlkin Park Mall.
In another, they’re seen at the scene of a traffic accident.
“We definitely want to Tweet as much as we can and be as candid as we can with what we’re doing so people get a real idea of what it’s like,” Sergeant Toney said before the ride along. “We have to use discretion of how we do that. We don’t want to compromise officers’ safety by tweeting out something too soon.”
Additionally, they must take into consideration things like the privacy of a victim and giving out too much information about a suspect, he said.
The spokesman said department officals hope the event can attract potentional recruits to fill out the officer ranks.
“We want to reach out to people out in the community who may have thought about police work before and they will see this,” he said.
The police department participated in a similar initiative a few years ago, and officials thought it would be a good time to do it again. Departments around the country participate in “tweet-alongs,” he said.
Sergeant Toney answered questions on social media throughout the shift.
He also poked fun at the classic police stereotype, at one point posting a poll asking whether the officers should eat doughnuts during a break, along with a photo of the fattening pastries.
As of about 9 p.m. 78 percent of respondents said ‘yes.’