Wichita Officers Go Online To Connect With Community

By: Stephanie Diffin Email
By: Stephanie Diffin Email

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wichita police streamed live from the department to people's desktops Tuesday. The department set up a live chat to answer any questions people had for a beat officer. Officers say the effort was to help bridge the gap between police and the people they serve. It's just one way the department is using technology and social media to connect with the community.

Some questions asked Tuesday included 'when do people release dash camera video?' And 'is it legal to turn left onto a one-way street even when the light is red?'

They were all questions Officer Nicholas Halls was happy to answer as he took time from his normal routine, working his beat.

"The citizens that live on my beat, a lot of them I know by name," said Halls.

But even a familiar face, for some, may not always mean an open door for conversation. So that's where Tuesday night's Q & A came in. It was an opportunity to ask questions of the people behind the badge.

"I think it gives them a realistic view of what we do, how we do it, that myself and the other officers that work out here are just people," said Halls.

Giving citizens a realistic view of officers is one of the goals behind the department's invitation for questions. It's also the goal behind the department's growing Facebook and Twitter accounts.

"As a department we need to be connected with people that we're serving and we want to do that through social media," said Officer Jarod Metcalf with Wichita police's public information department. "It's all about the partnerships. The people are the eyes and the ears of the police department."

And officers say it may help if all those eyes and ears know a little more about those out to protect and to serve.

"That we enjoy what we do, we want to help others, and that we're attempting to do the best that we can," said Halls.

Tuesday night's live stream was the first time for the department to host a live chat, but it says it plans to coordinate more.

For more information you can visit the department's Facebook page by CLICKING HERE.

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