|Capt. Cathy Madalone, Officer Kyle Witty and Chief Michael Carr during the tweet-along.|
The event was part of Bergenfield Police Department's continued efforts in building community relationships. In this case, by doing a "virtual ride-along" with an officer using our social media tools, we brought real-time information to our residents and others as to what was occurring on a rainy Friday night. The goals of last night's tweet-along were to make our residents aware of how the BPD uses social media to reach out and keep them aware of crime trends, emergency alerts, and public safety issues as well as provide a creative way of showing a typical shift in the life of a BPD officer.
All too often police and public interaction involves a tragic, unfortunate, or a crime incident that can suddenly shift the public view of a police officer from ally to adversary. The virtual ride-along provides a forum for the public to see (in photos) and read about (in micro-blogged tweets or posts) what an officer has to face, be aware of, investigate, and make decisions on, sometimes in a split second, all in real-time. It is simply the sharing of insight into how an officer does his or her job provided to those who are interested in learning about that aspect of their community. Even making the coffee shop stop provided a fun moment to humanize the officers because the myth of "cops 'n donuts" was finally busted as it was all tweeted last night.
Thanks again to all those who participated especially Officer Kyle Witty and the officers of Platoon 1, Squad 2 (Sgt. John Maggi, PO John Brown, PO Marc Rispoli, PO Jorge Candia, PO Eric Lind, 911 Telecommunicators Rich Brendlen and Carmela Russo). In addition, special thanks goes to Sergeant DaCosta, daughter Ally, and PO Eric Ost, who stopped by the DD to be a part of the meet 'n greet.
We thank those local business owners for allowing us to come in for a few minutes, especially those at Nick's Pizza & Pasta and of course, our police substation south, Dunkin' Donuts. We also would like to thank some local residents with whom we stopped by their homes for a quick chat and photo, in particular, Jack Hoffmann, and the Rose Family, including Fred the dog who provided a friendly greeting to those of us who entered the foyer.
Again, the BPD especially thanks those who followed the tweets, retweeted, direct messaged, or liked our Facebook page posts. We truly appreciate the support. Because of that support we will plan to do another tweet-along event in 2014.
Finally, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of an event like this when it comes to police-community relations. It may sound like something that is for just for fun, but we take it seriously and aim to use it for the potential reach it has on community members that use social media as well. Police officers have an impact on lives of citizens on a daily basis. In some instances it may not be the best time of someone's life, but we want the public to remember that officers also have a human side too. By using the technological tools of communication that are available to us, we can hopefully show that side of a police officer and strengthen the relationship with the public.
Chief Michael T. Carr