The New York Times had a great piece looking at the efforts of Seattle Police to send information about their police calls out over the social media service Twitter. There are a number of agencies that tweet major crime and incident data but this is likely the first effort that each of SPD's reporting beat areas has their own automated Twitter feed.
“More and more people want to know what’s going on on their piece of the rock,” said the chief of police, John Diaz. “They want to specifically know what’s going on in the areas around their home, around their work, where their children might be going to school. This is just a different way we could put out as much information as possible as quickly as possible.”Personally, I think efforts like this are great. Letting the public know what's going on in their community is the best way to get them involved in making their neighborhoods safer places to live and work. Traditional media can't always cover minor incidents in such a granular way.
More and more police departments are using social media to connect and communicate with the citizens they serve. The International Association of Chiefs of Police recently released the results of a survey of social media use by police agencies. A majority of the law enforcement agencies surveyed reported they were using social media to solve crime or to improve community relations.
How does your agency use social media? If not, why not?