RILEY COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW) -- Riley County police say a major push by the department to implement social media sites into everyday police work is paying off.
Officers have been posting to Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest in between their normal duties, garnering thousands of followers.
Officer Matt Droge works the midnight shift patrolling the streets but he’s well-known in the social media world where he’s been dubbed the Twitter Cop.
Droge, with the help of several other officers on the force, has worked to integrate sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest into daily RCPD operations.
"For our Twitter, it’s been incredible. When I started I think we had around 53 followers and this morning, we had over 2400 followers so I think it’s something the community appreciates," he told WIBW.
Droge went to Kansas City to see how police there use social media and brought the methods back to Riley County. He’ll tweet and post when he has a break on patrol and when he’s off duty- answering questions and concerns and letting folks know about any accidents as well as different police operations and investigations.
"When they tweet to us, they’re tweeting to me or one of the other two officers that help with the Twitter account. They’re actually asking a question to a cop and that cop is responding to them as quickly as we can... It’s very important to me that the Twitter and the social media here at the police department works because I do feel that it’s a viable tool for law enforcement and the only way to make it work is to be committed to it," he said.
"Manhattan is a very young community. We have soldiers from Fort Riley and we also have K-State students here so our demographic is such that we need to pay special attention to how we reach out to them and we’ve been interested for a while now as to how we can communicate with the younger generation and of course it turns out that they use social media extensively for everything from what’s going on in the local community to where they get their news" said RCPD spokesman Lieutenant Josh Kyle.
"It’s actually to date, helped solve six cases. In those six cases, that includes three felonies. So far, we’ve had thefts, we’ve had an aggravated battery, fraud," Droge said of RCPD's interactions with citizens on social media sites.
"If a picture comes in of someone that robs a bank, I can send out a picture and over 2400 people can see that picture and forward it and share it with even more and the chances of one of those people knowing who that person is are very high and it’s a resource that if we’re not using it, I think we’re not doing the community a service," he added.