Social media posts about police improve community relations

Viral posts help improve community relations

Videos of dancing cops and firefighters and photos of furry K-9 officers — that’s all in a day’s work for local police and fire agencies.

Local departments are doing a lot more public outreach online, specifically Facebook and Twitter.

Just four days ago, Riverside Police posted a photo of Officer Nick Toscani buying dinner for a homeless veteran.

“I wanted to use this as an opportunity to show the public and the residents here of Riverside … this is what your police department is out here doing,” said Major Scott Hughes.

Hughes said that photo has already been viewed 60,000 times — that’s twice Riverside’s population — and shared over 400 times.

“We recognize the fact that, hey look this is the future of policing,” Hughes said.

Art Jipson, director of criminal studies at University of Dayton, said that strategy of posting to social media platforms can be effective at reaching younger audiences with the potential to distrust police.

“It’s certainly one effective tool that when done well, can really generate a good positive engagement with the community,” Jipson said. “We are more effective at crime prevention when we work together.”

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