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City Council to Consider Telling Departments to 'Explore' Twitter

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Twitter's infamous Fail Whale

Twitter's infamous Fail Whale
One of the more interesting motions being looked at on this morning's Los Angeles City Council agenda (.pdf) is one from Tom LaBonge and Eric Garcetti. After Silver Lake residents complained about the lack of communication from LAPD's northeast division after a slew of street robberies, the two threw a motion together to get the E-Policing program, which e-mails you crime updates per your zip code, more widely marketed. Problem is, E-Policing has been around for a few years now and it has hardly been used, probably because it relies on the already swamped Senior Lead Officers at community stations. In East Sherman Oaks, it was only used once when the program first began. In Hollywood, it was rarely used at least once to advertise a community fair that had nothign to do with the policing. In the end, E-Policing's best marketing will be when the department actually uses it.

Nevertheless, a follow up report (.pdf) from the Education and Neighborhoods Committee included this: "INSTRUCT City departments to explore the use of Twitter to disseminate information." That's because a member of the public stood up and recommended the tool, which the LA Fire Department has used with great success as well as Garcetti.

If the LAPD were to begin using Twitter, we'd hope they at the very least use it for the Air Support Division so people understand why there is a helicopter circling around their home for hours on end.

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The other part of the motion basically instructs other department's to market E-Policing, which we recommend you join... you know, just in case it actually is ever used.

Addendum: In Sherman Oaks, it should be noted that the officers maintain their own e-mail lists in their address book for updates on crime patterns and what to look out for. The Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council, which LAist Editor Zach Behrens is a member of, has an unofficial Twitter account, too.

And just for fun, a pretty funny video about Twitter