Charlottesville Police join Facebook
Local departments discuss social media presence
The Charlottesville Police Department launched its Facebook page last week, following many other local departments that are also using social media to communicate with the community.
Lt. Steve Upman said the department had been considering launching a Facebook page for some time.
“We’ve had a great relationship with the local media, but by creating our own page, we will be more self-reliant when it comes to getting a certain message out to the public,” Upman said.
The page is already reaching close to 1,400 likes after only four days of being live. So far, the department has updated the page with its “Hunt with a Cop” Easter egg hunt which took place March 26.
To spread the news, the Charlottesville Police Department sent a media release to local television and radio and used word of mouth, Upman said.
Upman said he hopes the Facebook page will allow the Charlottesville community to get to know the department better, as well as provide information on upcoming events and officer training.
Madeline Curott, Albemarle County Police Department public information officer, said Facebook is an important tool for the Albemarle Police Department and welcomed the Charlottesville Police Department to the social media site.
“I would say that Facebook is crucial to our police department. We are able to put out a large amount of information at one time, and then keep that audience updated with what is going on,” Currot said in an email statement. “It’s also a great tool for us to stay engaged with the community in lighthearted ways.”
The Albemarle Police Department Facebook page, which has over 5,000 followers, has been an important asset in community policing and can be used as a tool to better fight crime in Albemarle County, Currot said.
Along with Facebook, the Albemarle Police Department is active on Twitter and may expand to Instagram, Currout said.
“I am looking into establishing an Instagram for ACPD, but that is a completely different audience, so I am trying to figure out how I would sustain that platform,” Currot said.
Upman said the Charlottesville Police Department may expand its presence to other social media platforms in the future but will focus on Facebook for now.
“We’re just beginning this so it’s kind of a brainstorming process right now,” he said. “Once we get our feet wet with Facebook, we may look at using Twitter in the future.”