- Contact Name: Sergeant Steve Noblitt
- Contact Phone: 719.444.7412
- Contact E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Date: 5/1/2011
The Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) is located at the foot of Pikes Peak, making it a prime tourist destination in central Colorado. The department comprises 645 sworn officers and 286 civilian employees and serves an urban population of nearly 420,000 people, including five major military installations.
In 2009, CSPD began using Twitter to communicate with local media outlets. In particular, CSPD officials would tweet information to notify press when they were going to the scene of an incident. CSPD then decided to expand their use of Twitter and begin using Facebook in 2010. Their main goal was to increase transparency by establishing clear and open lines of communication. CSPD uses Twitter in several ways. They continue to use it to communicate with the press as well as allow dispatchers to tweet stolen car information and lieutenants (or their designees) to send out suspect descriptions. On Facebook, CSPD has several features including: From the Chief, Quote of the Week, and Officer of the Month. Sergeant Steve Noblitt noted that there is real value in informing the public and letting them see how different processes and procedures work within a department. CSPD has received very positive feedback from community members and has noticed an improved relationship with local media.
Due to budget cuts in their agency, CSPD was forced to look into alternative forms of service delivery. One way CSPD changed their service delivery, was to begin allowing online crime reporting for certain crimes. However, people were experiencing a lot of difficulty properly filling out the online form. To combat this issue, CSPD developed Officer Smith, an avatar that assists people when filling out the online crime reporting form. Officer Smith appears on the CSPD website and introduces herself to visitors. She is then available to guide people through the crime reporting process by asking questions and providing verbal responses. People are experiencing fewer issues and more reports are being filled out completely and correctly.
When asked where the CSPD is heading in terms of social media, Sergeant Noblitt had a few ideas. The main focus is to become more visible within the community, increasing community relationships. He envisions bringing community policing to a micro level where each division of the department has their own Facebook page, allowing them to provide information specific to the population they serve. They may eventually develop Facebook pages for individual sectors, where officers can post at the beginning of their shift to let community members know who is around and address any concerns that may arise.
CSPD will move forward with social media as it continues to create new lines of communication, clarify processes, and improve relationships throughout the community.