California Police Chief- Fall 2013 - Page 12

The Ride Along Goes Virtual Modesto PD invites the public to follow swing shift on Twitter The night was still young. “Downtown is starting to pick up, the bars and nightclubs are getting filled,” the post on Twitter read. By the end of the 12-hour shift, Modesto police would post more than 100 “tweets” that chronicled a typical Friday night in the city of more than 210,000 in Stanislaus County. There were several reports of shots being fired. Two robberies. A smattering of drug busts. No homicides or other violent crimes unfolded, but Modesto police were kept busy responding to more than 200 calls for service between 2 p.m. and 2 a.m. on a Saturday late last year. And residents were able to follow all the action on Twitter in what police called a “virtual ride-along” -- a first for the Modesto PD and maybe the first for any police agency in the state. Modesto police Lt. Rick Armendariz called the social-media experiment a success, saying residents not only got a glimpse at the bad stuff happening in their city -- they also learned a lot about their police department. 12 | Behind The Badge