(TNS) - In a move to increase transparency and educate the public about its work in the community, the Redlands Police Department now shares its daily call logs on social media.
The department will regularly post its police logs on its Facebook page, highlighting calls officers respond to on a daily basis, officials announced this past week.
“I see our relationship with the community as our most important thing and part of that is they need to know what’s going on in the city,” said interim police Chief Chris Catren.
Carl Baker, the city’s spokesman, volunteered to take on the task of posting the logs and updates to the department’s Facebook page.
Baker said he will post the logs every day he is in the office and will catch up on weekend activity on Mondays.
The latest log, posted Thursday, Jan. 25, shows officers spent their Wednesday responding to calls reporting thefts, burglaries, drug offenses and runaway juveniles.
“It’s not to scare everybody,” Catren said of the new log posts. “The idea is to get the information out there so people can make good public safety decisions for themselves and to know what’s going on in their community.”
The department has been using social media to inform the public, from major incidents to upcoming events, for some time. Redlands police also use Crime Mapping, which allows residents to view crimes that have occurred near their home or work.
Adding the police logs is another way to make the organization more transparent, officials say.
The department plans to push information out more quickly as an incident is occurring, such as during school lockdowns, Catren said.
“If we have a lockdown at a school, we’d like that information to get out sooner rather than later, so people have an idea of what’s going on,” he said. “The fear of the unknown is usually much greater.”
Catren said he hopes the logs will serve as a reminder to residents to lock their doors, set their alarms and take precautions to avoid becoming victims.
“We want this to lead into the idea of crime prevention where people are taking an active role in preventing themselves from becoming victims,” he said. “This, coupled with crime mapping, it will allow people to enable them to take some control over their own safety.”
The logs may help make up for the public’s inability to no longer listen to dispatch calls on their home police scanners or computers, following the county’s switch to an encrypted radio system, Baker said.
While the switch prevents residents from listening in, it also prevents suspects from listening in, Baker said.
“I know people think that this gives them an opportunity to know what’s going on,” Baker said. “It also gives bad guys an opportunity to know when the police are coming, if the radio is unencrypted, and it leads to confusion sometimes too.”
Baker said officials want residents to rely on the department’s Facebook page for accurate information about an incident, rather than postings from people listening to a police scanner.
“We want people to rely on our social media page for accurate information about what’s going on around town,” he said.
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