West Bloomfield PD launches social media pages

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published August 26, 2015

 The West Bloomfield Police Department launched a Facebook page to better communicate with the community. Visit www.facebook.com/westbloomfieldpd.

The West Bloomfield Police Department launched a Facebook page to better communicate with the community. Visit www.facebook.com/westbloomfieldpd.

Photo by Cari DeLamielleure-Scott

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — Ever wondered what major crimes have happened nearby or where roads are closed within the township?

West Bloomfield residents will have quicker access to that information as the West Bloomfield Police Department launches its Facebook and Twitter pages.


The Facebook page is currently up and running, and the Twitter page is not far behind.


The International Association of Chiefs of Police conducted a social media survey in 2010 and found that 95 percent of police agencies in the nation were using social media accounts to reach out to communities, according to Deputy Police Chief Curt Lawson.


So why has it taken so long for the West Bloomfield Police Department to jump on the social media bandwagon? Lawson said it came down to making sure safeguards were in place to distribute information in a professional and timely manner.


“We wanted to make sure that when we did this, we did it right, (and) that there were no mistakes,” Lawson said.


The West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees approved the social media pages when they voted on the consent agenda Aug. 17.


The Facebook and Twitter pages will in no way replace the 911 system. If someone has an emergency, Lawson stressed that they should call 911 for assistance.


Because Facebook caters to a slightly older crowd, the department decided to launch a Twitter page as well to “encompass as many people as possible,” Lawson said. Not only does the department want to promote its commitment to the community, but officers will post information about public safety issues, inclement weather, road closures, major incidents in the township, Amber Alerts and missing adults.


“We can also push through … a press release or information on wanted individuals,” Lawson said. “We’re confident our department will benefit from our use of social media through enhanced communication with the community that we serve.”


The pages will not be used to post daily crime in the township; however, the department will provide a link to the Crime Mapping website on the social media pages. Crime Mapping is a website that shows crimes throughout the nation. The company subcontracts with Oakland County’s Courts and Law Enforcement Management Information System, which inputs the department’s reports into the map, Lawson said.


Police Chief Mike Patton said he believes the service will benefit the department and the community too.


“The West Bloomfield Police Department will … be launching one or more social media platforms to increase our time-sensitive communications with our township residents, businesses, visitors (and) community partners,” Patton said. “This is based upon our interest in communicating with all the previously mentioned partners or customers we serve.”


Patton said the department is exploring other social media outlets.


Specific officers will be assigned to post information online. As for whether the pages will be interactive, Lawson said that at this time, the department is just going to “push information” out to the public; however, police officials are contemplating having one-hour question-and-answer sessions.


Visit www.facebook.com/westbloomfieldpd. The department’s Twitter handle was not available by press time. The department will place the Twitter information on the township’s website, www.wbtwp.com.

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