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This Is How The LAPD Writes Its Tweets

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The Los Angeles Police Department's official Twitter account, @LAPDHQ, has 146,000 followers. Depending on the day, they post anywhere from one to over 10 times.

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You might get anything from information about a fire...

To updates on a possible active shooter...

To adorable baby animals.

But as with any company, organization or governing body, it's not always clear who is responsible for writing or vetting the tweets. With that in mind, LAist reader Natali Hopkins wrote in and asked us, "Who at the LAPD decides what/when is shared on their Twitter? What about when it's related to police-involved shootings?"

According to Josh Rubenstein, LAPD's public information director, the account is a collaborative effort between himself, a social media team, public information officers (aka spokespeople), police officers, sergeants and commanders. In other words, "there are many eyes on every post," he said.

On days when there's no breaking news, the team gets together to figure out what the "biggest, most important story of the day is" and tweets that information out to their followers, Rubenstein said. When there is breaking news, tweets are crafted by a spokesperson who has been sent to the scene.

That spokesperson gets facts from a police commander who is also on the scene, and then relays the information back to headquarters. "When it's coming from the scene, we let [the commanders] take the lead" in terms of what information is most important to release to the public, Rubenstein said.

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He added that the department's goals with their social media accounts are tri-fold:

  1. Release public safety information quickly and effectively
  2. Educate the public about policing
  3. Manage the image of the LAPD

"These are men and women who are doing a very complicated job every day," Rubenstein said. "They're doing it with professionalism and great integrity. They are facing challenges that you can't even imagine. We are trying to portray those challenges in a meaningful way."
When it comes to officer-involved shootings, the procedure is no different, although it is more sensitive.

"Those are our most critical incidents, and they are very sensitive," Rubenstein said. "We want to make sure we are putting out information that is absolutely vetted. But otherwise, there is nothing different that we do."

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