New York Police to Use Social Media to Connect With Residents

Benjamin Mueller And Jeffrey E. Singer at the New York Times: “The New York Police Department has faced its share of pushback on social media, most memorably when it solicited photos of police interactions on Twitter under the hashtag #myNYPD. Images of aggression by officers upended that campaign.

Now, the department is seeking to turn New Yorkers’ penchant for online complaints to its gain by crowdsourcing their concerns. It has even consulted another sector troubled by social media gripes — the airline industry — to become more responsive to problems voiced online.

“They’re very good at managing customer complaints,” said Zachary Tumin, deputy commissioner for strategic initiatives and leader of the department’s social media efforts, who visited Delta Air Lines’ Atlanta headquarters this month. “That’s an area we need to explore.”

The department’s fleet of commanding officers has found its footing on Twitter in recent months, using the site to herald arrests, announce transportation delays and spread information about suspects. Now, the officers are planning to use that online visibility to draw ground-level information on crimes and conditions, a potential boost to a department seeking to align its “broken windows” crime-fighting objectives with local communities’ needs….

In a pilot program starting next month in the 109th Precinct in Queens, police officials will use a platform called IdeaScale to solicit tips and concerns from residents. The platform, which some government agencies have used internally as a brainstorming tool, promotes the posts that other users agree deserve attention.

In that way, officials argue, the police will be able to look beyond departmentwide priorities and focus on concerns that resonate in smaller communities….(More)”