Pasco PD shares their social media experience with other police - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Pasco PD shares their social media experience with other police chiefs

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PASCO, WA - A local police department got the chance to share its experiences utilizing social media to hundreds of police chiefs from around the world at the International Association of Police Chiefs' Conference in Philadelphia.

Pasco Police Chief Robert Metzger and Captain Ken Roske flew to Philadelphia this month to demonstrate how to department utilizes social media.

"Social media has become a great place for us to come out and explain, sometimes in a humorous way and sometimes in a serious way, what's going on in our police department," Chief Metzger said. "These are real events, things that really occur in our community."

And it has paid dividends for Pasco Police, because along with interacting directly with the community, they've actually arrested people by using platforms like Facebook to get the word out about suspects.

"We had a thing with people stealing gifts at Christmas time off the front porches," said Chief Metzger. "We had a couple good videos on people going up and stealing gifts off porches. Well, that's pretty important to people so we showed that on there and boy, we had that solved pretty quickly."

400 police chiefs were in attendance at the presentation, and Chief Metzger says they've gotten emails from some of them since the presentation, asking for more information.

But what was the most important piece of advice Chief Metzger dished out to the crowd of 400 other police chiefs?

"You can't wait for me to go up the chain of command and approve the social media, you have to actually do it as it's happening, so that it gets out to the public while it's fresh," he explained. "And I think that was probably the most important thing; people understood that, 'alright, I'm not gonna wait, if something happens on Friday night and the chief's not back until Monday morning, are we gonna wait until Monday morning to post anything?' No, you're not, you should get it out right away."

But Chief Metzger also says they weren't in Philadelphia to tell other police chiefs how to use social media, because he says they need to figure out for themselves what works for their cities.

"True community policing is about whatever you're doing in your community fits your community, and that's going to be different. Pasco isn't better or worse than anybody, (we're) just doing it the way we're doing it. Find what works and make it happen, and that was really our key message on that and if we can give you some tidbits along the way to help, we'll do it."