(TNS) -- TAVARES — It's not every day people can make fun of a police boat sinking.
But someone Photoshopped an image of Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio from "Titanic" onto the sunken Tavares police boat in May and posted it the picture on the department's Facebook page to poke a little fun at their own misfortune.
"Thanks to one of our followers, Tony Cristaldi, we have a better understanding of why our Police boat went down!" police titled the picture. "Darned Florida icebergs," stated Laurie Anne in her comment on the police boat that actually sank during a rain downpour in May.
The Tavares Police Department is among a number of law enforcement agencies who have started to get clever with their social media in an effort to build a better and closer relationship with the public.
"It's a fun way to get the community involved," said Cpl. Sarah Coursey, the department's media spokeswoman and one of the officers who frequently posts items to the Facebook.
The department this year started more interaction with the public on its Facebook page after a number of comments and tips followed a post asking for the public's help finding a shoplifter.
Officers started responding more to readers' comments, employing such catchy hashtags as #ThrowemUnderthebusThursday to get people looking for suspects and posting lighthearted entertaining information as well as the usual serious law enforcement news. There's also #FlipOnHimFriday and #SnitchonhimSaturday.
There was the photo of officers mugging for the camera on National Pigs in a Blanket Day, officers pulling open their uniform shirts to reveal superhero uniforms on Superhero Day and officers displaying their donut-consumption prowess on National Donut Day. And sprinkled throughout their posts is their mascot, a stuffed pink pig.
Officer A. Atksinon enjoys keeping up with readers' comment, especially after a blood-covered man spat at him during a call. It can be something to look forward to after a tough day, he said.
"It's a conversation starter and gives those in the community an opener to have a friendly talk with our officers," said Coursey. "Using our Facebook to communicate with our citizens opens a line of communication that might not have been there before."
Various law enforcement agencies also have stepped up their use of Facebook. In hopes of creating more interaction with the public, the Lake County Sheriff's Office this year started making videos to post to their Facebook page. One was with Sheriff Peyton Grinnell standing with masked drug agents and delivering a stern warning to heroin dealers.
That video went viral and got him national coverage.
Grinnell also drew some criticism for the video, just as Tavares police drew criticism for being so lighthearted with their page at times. But Coursey added since they began employing a more clever approach, their Facebook followers have jumped from about 1,100 in April to more than 4,500 in late May.
"People really like our Facebook page now," said Sgt. Ami Reynolds, who also post items to the agency's Facebook page. "People want to talk to us now."
©2017 Daily Commercial, Leesburg, Fla. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.