Salute the Badge: This guy made Lawrence Police's Twitter page famous
Is anybody going to care? That's the first thing Public Affairs Officer Drew Fennelly asks himself before his fingers hit the keyboard to tweet from the Lawrence Police Department's Twitter account.
Fennelly has found a successful, modern way to connect with the community, but that has not always been the case.
"Uhhh, when we first started using Twitter it kind of sucked. It was boring..." Fennelly said.
Over 30,000 followers later, Fennelly has created a bridge between law enforcement and the community in a way most people don't expect from those who wear a badge.
"What we have found is that using humor generates a lot more interest, generates a lot more replies and retweets and things like that if it's funny because people don't expect a police department to be funny," Fennelly said.
Fennelly's top tweet even won the department an award. It was a tweet about a new chip bag that doubles as a Breathalyzer -- the reply reads, "If you have to blow into a Tostitos bag to know if you're intoxicated, for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT DRIVE."
"I tweeted that out and it was in minutes it was in the 100's, it went fast," Fennelly said.
It scored over 140,000 likes, 83,000 retweets. and one nice trophy!
Although LPD's tweets appear to be popular, Fennelly admits
"When you're talking about Twitter, you have 140 characters to get your point across and that can be taken a whole bunch of different ways by different people. So it's easy to be misinterpreted," Fennelly said, "We haven't had any major incidents, thankfully, but just small things that we've learned from."
Ultimately though, Fennelly said, Twitter is a great tool for the department to be transparent with the community especially 18 to 24 year-olds -- a group not always easy for law enforcement to reach.
"Those are the people that are coming up in the community that have a lot to say in the community and so reaching out and engaging with them is incredibly important," Fennelly said.
Officers on patrol say Fennelly's tweets work - letting people know through humor that cops are humans, too.
"They feel more comfortable coming up and talking to an officer about a problem that they have or something that they saw or really anything in general," Fennelly said, "So, I think it's definitely had a good effect."
Follow Fennelly on Twitter
. Also, lookout for their next 'tweet along' for a unique perspective into the force and of course, a couple of laughs along the way.