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Public Safety

San Diego Cops Use Social Media To Clear Up Muffled Helicopter Announcements

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San Diego Police Helicopter Announcements
San Diego Cops Use Social Media To Clear Up Muffled Helicopter Announcements
San Diego police will begin posting the same announcements made from police helicopters on Twitter and the social networking site Nextdoor.com.

The next time you hear a muffled announcement coming from a police helicopter in San Diego, you can turn to social media to find out what is actually being said.

San Diego police will begin posting the same announcements made from police helicopters on Twitter and the social networking site Nextdoor.com.

The Police Department made the change because community members complained that it's hard to understand what the helicopter announcements are saying, said police spokesman Matthew Tortorella.

"After evaluating the problem, we felt we could use some of the technology we had in place to address the community concerns," he said.

The program is in a trial period that will last through the summer and into fall.

"It is a pilot program because with most new programs there are some kinks and logistics to work out to help get it off the ground," Tortorella said.

The trial period will let the department "look at how effective the program is at serving the communities of San Diego," he added. "We want to ensure that we are providing a quality service with these postings."

Tortorella asked the public to be patient as the department works out any bugs.

"The challenges so far have really just been logistical and technology based," he said. "These postings require a lot of teamwork, and it was important we try to identify the correct team members to make the process effective and efficient. We are so fortunate to have such an amazing dispatch team that was willing to be a key player in the program."

He said the challenges are being solved as "people get used to using new platforms."

San Marcos resident Kevin Mecum has repeatedly asked the San Diego County Sheriff's Department to post its helicopter announcements online because residents can't understand them. He posted this on a community Facebook page about the San Diego Police Department's announcement: "Compare SDPD to the San Diego County Sheriff who has no social media, refuses to offer solutions for the indistinguishable helicopter PA announcement problem, and is unwilling to discuss the problem with the public."

In December, sheriff's spokeswoman Jan Caldwell told KPBS the department uses the website Nixle.com to distribute information but would not post helicopter announcements.

The Sheriff's Department also deleted its Facebook page in November after an Oceanside gun parts dealer sued the agency when two of his comments were removed and then he was banned from commenting on the page.

San Diego Police Helicopter in Ocean Beach