The number of government services and officials using social networking site Twitter have now been joined by the Florida Police Department.
Certain areas of the US state have been using Twitter to update when its squads go to investigate crimes and leave on patrols.
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“We think the police department has an obligation to get information out to the community through whatever means or mechanisms we have at our disposal,” Lakeland Police assistant chief Bill LePere told CNN.
“Traditional media releases, expecting the local print media to pick it up and run it in the newspaper tomorrow, is 24 hours too late.”
Businesses and individuals have been using Twitter because of its immediacy, as updates are often sent from mobile phones where witnesses to events can send information instantly.
Bruce Frazier, a spokesman for the Dalton Police Department in Georgia, said the Florida police are using Twitter in a way he envisioned when Dalton started using Twitter last month. Frazier claims a bomb threat last month could have been handled quicker if Twitter had been used.
“[The bombing occurred] across the street from an elementary school,” he said. “I was on the scene there pounding away on my PDA trying to send out press releases, letting people know what was going on with the evacuation, (that) what they needed to do to pick up their kids.
“If we had been using something like Twitter, it would have been something quicker than I could have been able to send from my PDA.”