Police Want To Use Social Media To Stop Future ‘Koigates’
Monday, August 20, 2012
Aired 8/20/12 on KPBS News.
Brian Marvel, president of the San Diego Police Officers Association, said by better monitoring social media, police can be prepared for future events planned over websites like Facebook and Twitter.
A giant water gun fight that trashed Balboa Park’s iconic lily pond last weekend has raised questions of whether the police could have been better prepared to stop the event. Some in the police department say they could use social media to make that happen.
Brian Marvel, president of the San Diego Police Officers Association and an active police officer, said police knew about the water gun fight in advance. But he said by better monitoring social media, police can be prepared for future events planned over websites like Facebook and Twitter.
“Someone that was monitoring social media would see events like that come across, and they’d be able to at least notify Central Division, 'hey you know what, you’re going to have a big event, it’s happening here and this is where you can find the information on it,'” he said.
But Marvel said he would also like to see the account used to get messages out to the community.
“They could put out information that’s going on with the police department," he said. "If there’s anything that we’re going to where we’re making presentations, community meetings, saying 'hey there will be a police officer at this community meeting.'”
Marvel also said the accounts could be used to make safety announcements and tell stories about the good things police officers are doing because "law enforcement doesn't always get a fair shake in the media."
The Police Department joined Twitter in April 2010, but Voice of San Diego reported in 2011 that no tweets had yet been sent from it. Voice of San Diego also reported that the San Diego County Sheriff's Department uses its social media accounts to connect with residents.
Lt. Andra Brown, a spokeswoman for the police, said she does not know who runs the police department's Twitter account and said no one from the department was available to comment on its social media use.