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Oak Park police jump into social media

By Dan Campana

In an effort to bolster its connection with residents, the Oak Park Police Department recently launched itself into the social media landscape on Facebook and Twitter.

The department formally introduced their presence in late January with a “Hello, Twitter!” tweet and an inaugural Facebook post featuring a photo of Oak Park police officers. What’s followed has been a steady stream of daily activity reports and updates on notable incidents and investigations.

Chief Anthony Ambrose said followers can expect these new communication channels to be a direct pipeline of “the most updated and accurate information possible … so residents no longer have to wait to read about police news in the newspaper.”

“We received the message loud and clear that residents were looking for improved communication from the police department, particularly through an added presence on social media,” Ambrose explained.

Ambrose said social media will be used to share blotter items on crimes and arrests, as well as “verifiable information” on suspects and details when a significant event, such as a carjacking, occurs.

Somewhat coincidentally, Oak Park’s entry into the social media world happened not long before the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police put out a formal statement encouraging departments to use online platforms as a community engagement tool.

“People often say that law enforcement needs to do a better job of telling our own story. That’s what we’re doing in social media,” ILACP Executive Director Ed Wojcicki said. “We especially like to promote the great work being done by our police departments in their communities.

“We hope the cumulative effect of our social media activity affirms what the polls say: that community members by and large are very pleased with their own police departments.

ILACP can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.