Government Technology

Auto-Tweets Mimic Police Scanner



February 19, 2013 By

Certain Massachusetts residents wondering about patrol car lights flashing or audible police sirens can now take to Twitter to satisfy their curiosity. Across the Charles River from Boston, Mass., the people of Cambridge who follow local law enforcement on Twitter will now be privy to up-to-the-minute information on high-profile incidents such as break-ins, assaults and other emergencies.

The new system, which uses code that interacts with the dispatch system, and a program written in conjunction with city emergency communications staff, replaces a manual notification-by-tweet system. Automatic notifications will be sent around the clock, according to BostInno.

Seattle police use a similar tactic called "Tweets-by-beat," in which hyper-localized crime data is available via the popular micro-blogging platform.

"We believe strongly in the ability of social media to communicate with the public in a timely manner," said Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert Haas in a statement. "And tweeting information about serious incidents will better inform our residents about what types of incidents police are responding to in their community."

Photo of Harvard University's Memorial Hall in Cambridge, Mass., courtesy of Shutterstock


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