Baltimore Police Begin Using Internet Video Conferencing to Enhance Media and Public Relations Efforts
By Jeremy Silbert
Wednesday, September 8, 2010; 12:26 pm
Baltimore, MD / September 7, 2010 - Beginning today, the Baltimore Police Department will begin utilizing programs such as Google Video Chat and Skype to communicate directly with members of the public and news media.The new video conferencing capabilities will allow for increased interaction between citizens, journalists and police public information officers so that vital information on crime and police issues can be disseminated in a timely manner.
Since March of 2009, the BPD has embraced the use of social networking to foster better relationships with the community. Crime alerts, notable arrests, and even wanted suspects are broadcast in real-time on the department’s Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook pages. Videos on police and community happenings are posted weekly on YouTube and residents can even subscribe to free text-message alerts about crime in their community through Nixle. Collectively, the agency reaches more than 25,000 people through its social media applications.
The intelligence detectives receive from the community is vital in our efforts to keep Baltimore safe, said Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld, III. In order to be an effective partner in the crime fight, the BPD has an obligation to keep residents informed of what’s happening in their neighborhoods so that they can actively share information with police.
The motivation behind the department’s move to social media came after Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake challenged city agency heads to use technology to provide a better level of public service to the community.
Updated: 09/08/10; 1:06 pm