California Police Chief- Fall 2013 - Page 11

In August 2010, the Redlands PD had about 600 fans on its Facebook page. As of Jan. 17, the agency had about 2,700 fans with viral reach of 1.1 million views per month, Dale said. city, typically logging no more than five homicides a year. Several nearby lower-income communities, however, make Redlands a significant target of property crimes, Catren says. “We want to maintain contact with the community and improve on it all the time,” Catren says of the vital role of social media in law enforcement. “As a police department, we are always looking at ways to connect with any part of the community. Not everyone can come up to our front counter and talk to us.” This makes communicating with other law enforcement agencies through new tools like CopBook even more important, Catren says. Social media tools have proven to be valuable when it comes to mining crime tips, Catren says. Dozens of tips flooded into the Redlands PD via Facebook and Twitter following a double homicide in January 2010. Redlands, with a population of 70,000, is a relatively safe His boss agrees. “Social networking has provided the ability for us to share information quickly with large groups of people,” Garcia says. “It also gives us a tool to gain intelligence more quickly than ever before. Capitalizing on the medium will help us in our ability to provide effective service to our community.” • Spring 2012 | 11