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Cambridge cops to protect, serve and tweet

Posted by Brock Parker  February 19, 2013 12:06 PM

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They have a Facebook page, their own mobile phone app, and now Cambridge Police are ramping up their presence on Twitter.

The department announced Tuesday that it will now share automated messages, or tweets, about high-profile incidents that it deems important to share quickly with the public.

While the department has been manually tweeting about some incidents during normal business hours, a new, automated system will send out messages on Twitter 24 hours a day every day of the week.

Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert C. Haas said in statement issued Tuesday that the department believes strongly in the ability of social media to communicate with the public in a timely manner.

“We won’t be tweeting every incident our officers respond to as we don’t want to inundate our followers with information,” said Haas. “But serious incidents will now be share with our followers on a short delay to allow officers time to respond to calls.”

The department’s Twitter account, @CambridgePolice, has more than 3,650 followers, and over the holiday weekend included tweets about a possible fight on Massachusetts Avenue Sunday and a possible assault on the Concord Turnpike Monday night.

Cambridge Police said a similar program was launched by police in Seattle in October.

In Cambridge, the tweets will each state “report of possible” before the incident type to indicate that a possible crime may or may not be confirmed upon an officer’s arrival.

Some of the crimes the department will tweet about are robberies, assaults and carjackings in progress, as well as bomb threats and kidnappings. The department will also tweet reports of a person with a gun, a missing person, and blocked streets.

Dan Riviello, the director of communications and media relations for Cambridge Police, said the department won’t have any real-time follow-up to the tweets, but it is something police are looking into doing.

Riviello said anyone interested in finding out what the resolution of an incident was can access the daily police logs, which are posted on the department's website.

While Cambridge Police are using Twitter to get more information out to the public quickly, the department is also reminding residents that crimes and emergencies should always be reported by calling police, not through social media.

--brock.globe@gmail.com

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