KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Social media has made it easier to learn about crimes, but it’s also being used as a crime fighting tool. While most metro law enforcement agencies at least have a Twitter account, it’s the one by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department that’s one of the top in the nation.
“Twitter has been one of our biggest successes,” said Sarah Boyd, a member of the media department for KCPD.
Boyd joined the team in 2007. Back then, she made a push to get more involved in social media.
“It reaches people that don’t interact with traditional media.”
The KCPD Twitter account has a little more than 24,000 followers — which also makes it No. 5 in the nation with departments of 1,000 or more officers.
“I had no idea people would want to know that much about the KCPD,” Boyd said.
As with most things, there’s friendly competition.
“Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Dallas are kind of gaining on us, so I want to make sure and stay ahead of the game there.”
SEE ALSO: Follow @fox4kc on Twitter
But Boyd said the real focus is the interaction and getting information out to followers.
“Criminals we’re looking for, road closures, good news about what we’re doing, stories that might not otherwise get told and it’s a way to get to them directly on their phone in their pocket.”
Kansas City police didn’t stop at Twitter. They also have a Facebook page and was the first police department in the country to have a Pinterest page.
While neither have the same following, Boyd is OK with that saying combined they get a good cross-section of people.
“People crave information.”
And the KCPD Twitter feed feeds the beast. From people wanted for questioning, to surveillance photos. It also helps the Chief of Police is on board and tweeting, too.
“I think 3 a.m. from the top guy at a crime scene is great. [It] shows we’re putting it all out there.”
It’s useful information for followers, but also a huge asset for the department.
“There are 24,000 more sets of eyes that we have out there, that can alert us to stuff that’s going on.”
In case you’re wondering, the Boston Police Department leads the nation with nearly 300,000 followers, most of whom followed right after the Boston Marathon bombings.
In addition to Kansas City police, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office was ranked eighth in the nation for their size. You can also follow them on Twitter, @JoCoSheriff.
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