Police Making an Impact on Social Media - Palm Springs News, Weather, Traffic, Breaking News

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Police Making an Impact on Social Media

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Coachella Valley Region -

The Palm Springs Police Department posted a video about the consequences of driving under the influence of marijuana on their Facebook page. And other police departments are doing the same thing everyday: taking to social media to educate, inform and connect with community.

"If you're not on social media in law enforcement today it's going to be very difficult for you today because everybody communicates using social media," says Sergeant William Hutchinson, the information officer who runs the Palm Spring Police Department's social media pages.

"It's just a great way of getting the word out to people nice and quick in short bursts like  if you have road closures, police activity that kind of stuff and also helps us get out the feel good stories," says Sergeant Dan Marshall, the information officer who runs the Indio Police Department's social media pages.

Hutchinson says social media is also useful to curtail rumors and misinformation, "Somebody takes a little bit of information they don't slow down and it spreads like wildfire ... this is a way for us to get out immediately and in front of it."

Every law enforcement agency in the valley is on social media. They're trying to provide as much information as possible without compromising investigations.

But this wasn't always the case says Hutchinson, "Law enforcement  before used to be just very closed off, you know you'd call and ask us questions there was no comment ... now we want to be as open and transparent as possible." 

They hope their presence on social media helps people see they're people too.

"It really humanizes the badge ... we're sons and daughters, we're brothers and sisters, we're moms and dads, there's no difference in us we have a great responsibility ... , we want people to interact with us," says Hutchinson. 

And that the interaction will build trust.

"Then the public trusts us and they know they can come to us when they have problems,  they can come to us when they have situations and that's what we're trying to get so people can see that you know we're just trying to go out there and do what's good for the community," says Marshall. 

The police departments say not to post to their social media pages during a crime in progress, as those pages are not monitored 24/7, use 911 in emergency situations.

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