Morgan City Police Chief: Social media increasing access to police

A screen shot of the police department’s mobile app.
(The Daily Review Photo by Courtney Darce)

By ZACHARY FITZGERALD zfitzgerald@daily-review.com

Police continue to expand their social media presence through an app, a website, Facebook, and soon Twitter in order to become more accessible to the public, Morgan City Police Chief Travis Crouch said.
Police used the Morgan City Police Department app’s notification feature for the first time Monday night to inform the public of a lockdown in the Arkansas Street area after they received a report of a domestic abuse case where a person may have been armed, Crouch said. Though the person arrested, James Murray, turned out to not be armed and was arrested without incident, the notification feature worked well, Crouch said.
“We got some good response the next day of people being notified,” Crouch said.
Since the app became available last week, police have received 10 or 15 complaints of problems in the city through the app ranging from people selling drugs in a neighborhood to a college student needing an interview with an officer for a project, Crouch said. “It’s been great,” Crouch said. The app is free for iPhone and Android.
Police can set the app’s notification feature to notify people within a certain distance of the affected area, he said.
Police also link app notifications through Facebook and are working to link them through Twitter where the notification will be posted automatically in all three places, Crouch said.
On Tuesday, police began putting the arrest report on its website, morgancitypolice.org, and will also put most wanted suspects on the site, he said. Crouch plans to post information on the website regarding the Shrimp and Petroleum Festival to notify people of parking areas and where traffic flow will be restricted, he said. “That way we try to prevent a bunch of vehicles being towed,” Crouch said.
Crouch emphasized that anyone trying to report an emergency should still call the police or 911 directly and not use the app or social media, he said. “The app is just a good tool we’re using and, so far, I love it,” Crouch said.

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