YARMOUTH – In an effort to enhance its Strategic Community Policing Plan, Yarmouth police met with local media last week.
The meeting was designed to foster cooperation and respect between the press and law enforcement to keep citizens and visitors in Yarmouth informed.
A major focus was the department’s use of social media, which Chief Frank Fredrickson says has been the department’s most effective community policing initiative.
Fredrickson said if used as a tool, social media and the department’s Facebook page, which is liked by more than 14,000 people, can a powerful way to get information to the public.
“When people actually know what is going on in their community action gets taken,” Fredrickson said.
He used the opioid epidemic as an example and that even though there was initial pushback from businesses the more information released about overdoses and drug related responses has helped the community.
Fredrickson also praised the department’s “Wanted Wednesday” effort which asks the public for help in locating individuals sought by police.
Since the program began the success rate of finding suspects is around 80 percent.
Yarmouth police also emphasized that the increased use of social media to get information to the public is not an effort to circumvent the media.
“It works both ways. It’s another tool,” said Deputy Chief Steven Xiarhos. “We can out a story and not everybody does social media. They listen to the radio. They ready the paper.”
Media members in attendance expressed appreciation for the department’s effort to be more open with the press and its use of Facebook, but also said they would like it to be easier to get information from dispatchers and officers to inform the public as quickly as possible.