February 19, 2013 By News Staff
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
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.