Public Safety Uses Social Media

Clint Blasengame
Junior Editor

   The University of Arkansas-Monticello’s Department of Public Safety uses social media to combat crime and inform students.

   The department has begun working to set up accounts on both Twitter and Facebook that, once established, can be accessed throught the departments Web site at http://www.uamont.edu/StudentAffairs/PublicSafety/PublicSafety.htm.

   John Kidwell, chief of public safety, said the department’s home page on the UAM website will give students access to both accounts and will be used for multiple purposes.

   “We will use it for different things like if we have a self-defense class we want people to know about, or things like school closings due to inclement weather,” Kidwell said. “We may also use it for any UAMAlert announcements as well.”

   Kidwell said although the use of social media sites would be to update student and faculty of any important events and occurrences, it could also be used to prevent and fight crime.

   “Facebook has been used as evidence in a case before,” Kidwell said.

   The use of social media will join a list of multiple forms of communication the department uses. One of these is the EyeWitness program. This program allows individuals to text in anonymous tips to the departments by using their cellphones.

   “We do receive a lot of tips, just not many from the EyeWitness program,” Kidwell said.

   Kidwell said he hopes the use of social media sites will help the department operate more effectively.

   “I just hope we can get in touch with students quicker. I think a lot of students check their Facebook and Twitter before they check their campus email,” Kidwell said.

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