Toledo police continue to connect with the community through social media use, but now a group of officers will help produce the content.
The department’s social media team — including Officer Gabe Greenwalt, Sgt. Paul Davis, Officer Richard Ketchum, Officer Prince Flores, and Officer Taylor Dungjen — will now create vlogs, or video blogs, to give the public an inside look at the department. Each vlog will focus on a particular unit or topic and can be viewed on YouTube or the department’s other social media accounts.
The team, which is supervised by Toledo Police Department spokesman Sgt. Kevan Toney, will meet once a month to film and edit eight to 10-minute videos, with the next vlog highlighting Toledo’s newest officers once they graduate from the police academy Friday.
“It’s getting officers who have the interest in the skills and giving them the opportunity to be creative and help the city in another way,” Sergeant Toney said.
Officers Greenwalt and Ketchum are both drone operators, Officer Flores is a school resource officer, Sergeant Davis oversees field operations, and Officer Dungjen, who formerly worked at The Blade, has media and story-telling experience, Sergeant Toney said.
The local department is molding its videos off other departments, particularly Miami and East Lansing police departments. Outside of East Lansing, Toledo police say their department might be the first major city in the region to start such an initiative.
Sergeant Toney previously shadowed East Lansing police officers on a filming day to gain a first-hand perspective on what goes into a vlog and to get some tips.
“It’s another way police departments are trying to get out in the community and reach people in hopes to further the mission and keep the city safe and working with the community,” Sergeant Toney said.
The intro vlog, which introduces the social media team and explains the goals behind the videos, was recently released on the police department’s social media sites. Toledo Police Chief George Kral has given direction to increase engagement with the community, and social media use can connect with several people at once, Sergeant Toney said. He added he hopes such engagement will help draw in younger generations.
Several people took to Facebook to share their ideas for the department’s next vlog topic.
One woman commented she is excited about the social media advancements because it “helps educate the public in ways they haven’t been able to see.” She requested to see the sectors to better understand where police patrol in a particular neighborhood.
A video about K-9 units, SWAT team, and Gang Task Force have also been popular requests, while another resident requested a blooper reel.
Toledo police have already expanded their use of social media with more posts on Facebook and Twitter, as well as the creation of an Instagram account. Sergeant Toney, who primarily manages the accounts, has been initiating innovative techniques — such as a virtual ride-along with a patrol unit or highlighting a cold case homicide — with the accounts.
“This is a tool to keep the city safe, and we can partner with the community,” said Sergeant Toney. “We want to do everything we can to be a progressive police department. This is just one small component of that.”
The department can be found under Toledo Police on YouTube and Facebook, or follow the department @ToledoPolice on Twitter or Toledo_Police on Instagram.
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