The Bryan, Texas, Police Department held a virtual ride-along on the PD’s official Twitter account @BryanPolice, so individuals following along could get a glimpse inside real police work.
The ride-along was held on the evening of Friday, Oct. 11, led by the department’s public information officer, Kelley McKethan. She declared that the event was a success, gaining 55 new Twitter followers on the department’s account and 26 new Facebook friends.
McKethan generated 108 tweets during the ride-along, using the signature hashtag #BPDvra (Bryan Police Department virtual ride-along) to describe a night on patrol with Officer Chad Hanks and his K-9 partner, Kohn. The tweets also shared facts about law enforcement protocols that may not be common knowledge to the public.
Below are a few tweet highlights from the virtual ride-along.
Alarm calls are very common and most are false, however, we have to treat each one as a burglary. #BPDvra— Bryan Police Dept. (@BryanPolice) October 12, 2013
Picked up a reckless vehicle call near Wells Fargo. Trying to find vehicle now #BPDvra— Bryan Police Dept. (@BryanPolice) October 12, 2013
Officer Hanks and Kohn are reserved for alarm calls, in progress calls, and traffic #BPDvra— Bryan Police Dept. (@BryanPolice) October 12, 2013
McKethan said one of the bigger goals in hosting a Twitter ride-along was to help expand the department’s social media presence. In its first virtual ride-along last April, McKethan shadowed a patrol officer and tweeted updates from the shift.
“My goal was to basically help foster that relationship with our community by letting them get a behind-the-scenes look at what police work is about,” McKethan said.
She said the PD has ramped up other efforts to increase transparency into the department through social media. On the department’s official Facebook page, McKethan began posting information regarding persons of interest from unsolved cases. By sharing videos and photos, she hopes the community will interact via Facebook and help identify unknown suspects.
So far, the Facebook community has helped the PD identify a suspect in a credit card abuse case, she said.