Utica Common Council Members Urge the Utica Police Department to Restore their Facebook Profile
The Utica Police Department has maintained a popular Facebook profile that showcased the good work the department has done. They pass along important information to the public and reported on arrests made by the officers. But now that Facebook page is gone.
The department was asked to take down their profile last Thursday. The reason given was that some city leaders felt that the UPD Facebook page painted the city in a bad light by showcasing crime.
Now two common council members are fighting back by sponsoring a legislation that urges the page to be restored.
The resolution mentions that the UPD page was used as a case study by the International Association of Chiefs of Police about building a partnership with the community.
Further, the public's input on Facebook has helped solve 11 cases over the first few months of 2013.
The Facebook profile is offline while the Twitter feed is still active, however there hasn't been a post since Friday May 24.
Read the full text of the proposed resolution:
RESOLUTION URGING THE MAYOR TO END THE BAN AND RESTORE THE COMMUNITY PARTERSHIP BETWEEN THE UTICA POLICE DEPARTMENT AND THE PUBLIC THAT WAS CREATED WHEN THE CITY BEGAN USING FACEBOOK IN 2010
Sponsored by: Councilmen Vescera & Zecca
June 4, 2013
WHEREAS, the International Association of Chiefs of Police ( IACP ) released a Case Study, March 15, 2011 “Utica, New York, Police Department – Creating Community Partners”, and
WHEREAS, “Chief Mark Williams had some apprehension about using social media in his department until he attended an IACP focus group in late summer of 2010. There, he talked with other law enforcement executives and heard stories about solving crimes and neutralizing inaccurate or negative information on the Internet, all by using social media.”, and
WHEREAS, “74 percent of agencies report that social media has helped solve crimes in their jurisdiction.”, and
WHEREAS, In less than four months, UPD has made 11 arrests directly from information posted on the UPD social media sites. The cases included a bank robbery and several grand larcenies. In multiple instances, people turned themselves in, either out of fear that they would be turned in by someone else, or out of embarrassment and wanting their picture or video taken down from the sites. In other instances, people see the pictures and videos and contact the police department with information. Sergeant Hauck says he believes social media empowers the community to get involved in the crime fighting process.”, and
WHEREAS, “In addition to receiving valuable tips, UPD has received more general feedback from their community. UPD anticipated some negativity when they set up their social media sites and allowed commenting, however, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. UPD is building relationships with their community every day and reaching new segments of their population.”, and
WHEREAS, “Sergeant Hauck attributes a large amount of UPD's social media success to their content. UPD's social media sites are updated frequently with current and informative content. They also post a wide array of stories from big to small and good to bad. Using social media gives UPD a voice to speak about all issues affecting the department whether it is an officer's accomplishments or something that has been negatively publicized. This level of engagement and transparency has helped to increase UPD's credibility in their community. It has also created a new relationship between the department and the local media outlets, who now follow UPD's social media streams and are able to pick and choose stories to run.”, and
WHEREAS, “Chief Williams is impressed with how social media has enhanced relationships with the community members, stakeholders in the city, and the local media. Social media provides the department with a new platform for UPD to reach the community and inform them as well as a forum for the community to communicate with their police department.”, and
WHEREAS, “UPD has made great strides in their social media involvement and they plan on continuing to move forward as the platforms and functionalities grow and evolve.”, and
WHEREAS, the Mayor abruptly and without prior notice ordered the shutdown of the UPD’s social media outlets around 3 pm Friday May 24th, 2013, and
WHEREAS, this was done according to the Utica O. D. “due to ‘strong criticism’ from local and state politicians”.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the UPD be allowed to reactivate this successful crime fighting media tool without delay.