AP NEWS

Police department expands social media presence

January 7, 2019

BULLHEAD CITY —The Bullhead City Police Department has a new way to inform the public: A Facebook page.

Along with its Twitter page, the goal is to get news out about investigations as well as various employee and department activities.

“It helps law enforcement solve crimes and keep residents informed,” said Emily Fromelt, the department’s public information officer. She will serve as the BHCPD social media administrator.

The page has been up for several weeks. Expect the range of information posted to be varied. There will be community and weather advisories as well as traffic and public safety information.

That includes information described by law enforcement as “critical” — events that could pose physical risks to the public. That category includes reports about hazardous weather conditions or potentially dangerous crime suspects.

When things go on within the department that personnel consider newsworthy, such as new officers being hired or a new program being implemented, there will be posts.

The Pet of the Week is coming to BHCPD social media soon, Fromelt said. Animal Care & Welfare is within the same city government division as the police department.

Fromelt will take photographs and shoot video for both of the BHCPD’s social media sites. Mackenzie Covert, the city’s communications specialist, also will capture images for these two sites to a lesser extent.

The BHCPD having its own social media pages allows the department to post information so it can tamp down on the mountain of inaccuracies posted online by people on other social media pages when they see police vehicles or hear dispatches relayed over scanner channels used by first responders, Fromelt said.

She pointed out that’s often because information heard over the scanner isn’t necessarily what might have transpired. Situations also evolve as they unfold.

“There’s a lot of rumors and misinformation posted,” she said.

A significant number of people who contact dispatchers are concerned passersby. However, information from the public remains crucial to first responders being able to do their jobs.

These social media pages won’t be debate forums, either.

Fromelt said she will monitor the BHCPD pages on Facebook and Twitter. Posting rules are similar to many other institutional and corporate social media sites. A portion of the Facebook page’s Terms of Use include no posting of obscenities, threats, defaming others, sexually explicit language and messages that express discrimination against people based on age, race, creed, color, gender, religion or national origin.

Though many of the department’s posts will be on both social media platforms, some information will be only on either Twitter or Facebook. Short news items would be a good fit on Twitter while longer pieces of information would be better on Facebook.

People wanting to report crimes and suspicious activity still need to call 911 for emergencies. Report non-emergencies by calling 928-763-1999.

The BHCPD is on Facebook under the heading “Bullhead City Police Department” while the Twitter page can be found under “@BHCPD.”

Fromelt added that the BHCPD hopes both social media pages will be trusted information sources.

AP RADIO
Update hourly