MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) -- The Riley County Police Department has become active on Twitter, using the social media site for both public relations and investigations.
"Twitter and social media in general doesn't cost the police department or the taxpayers any money," Officer Matt Droge of the Riley County Police Department told WIBW (http://bit.ly/17yscgg ). "It's integrated into what I would normally do as a public information officer, so we're not spending all this money advertising different things, and we're getting information back that's really helping to solve cases."
Droge, known in the northeastern Kansas police department as the "Twitter Cop," is the main person responsible for RCPD tweets. He said his department has been able to close about a half-dozen investigations thanks to tips they received after posting suspects' info on social media.
He also said Twitter and other social media can help law enforcement build a positive public perception.
"Giving the community a view into the daily life of a police officer. Putting a face, a voice to the police department," he said.
He said the department has had a Twitter account since 2009, but just actively started using it in the past year and they're looking to be more involved on Facebook and Pinterest as well.
Capt. Brian Desch of the Topeka Police Department sees value in Twitter and hopes they can do more with it in the future.
"We're in the beginning stages of using it, but a lot of it comes back to having the personnel to do that, as well as the training to know what information they can release and what they can't," he said.
Sgt. Trent McKinley, a spokesman for the Lawrence Police Department, said they've discussed creating a Twitter account, but feel they lack the manpower to run it effectively. McKinley said people would desire the information 24/7 and they are not prepared to satisfy that demand.
"We want to learn from the successes and failures of others," McKinley said.