The Bethlehem Police Department has been using social media as an extension of their community policing philosophy since mid-2011. Since that time, we have gained thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook. We also maintain this WordPress blog, that has been averaging around 20,000 hits per month. We view this form of communication as a next logical means of communication with the public we serve. Our department has been participating in block watch meetings for twenty years and more. Those meetings, which still occur, are held monthly and may reach a few to a few dozen participants. With our social media tools, we can reach thousands on a daily basis which provides a much more robust model to speak with, and listen to, our community.
We are not alone. Hundreds of police agencies across the globe have discovered that there is much power and value to an open dialogue with their citizens. This movement has been spearheaded by Lauri Stevens, founder of ConnectCOPS.net and the first ever Global Tweet-a-Thon. This event is scheduled to take place starting at 8 AM on March 22nd. Already over 150 police agencies in 8 countries have signed on to participate. Agencies with enagage in a virtual ride-a-long, tweeting their experiences while working the streets of their communities. Each agency will use the hashtag #poltwt to mark each tweet.
In Bethlehem, Sergeant Bob Urban will be participating and tweeting our experiences in Bethlehem. Follow along with the Bethlehem Police Department as we hit the streets. Read what we are doing, ask questions, and experience a day in the life of an officer in Bethlehem. Remember to use hashtag #poltwt and we’ll see you on the beat!