Thursday, October 22, 2020

ELPD looks to engage the public with game-day tweet alongs

September 25, 2017

If you’re looking for a definition of the phrase “exasperated sarcasm,” look no further than to the Twitter page of the East Lansing Police Department. 

As thousands of MSU and Notre Dame fans gathered at Spartan Stadium on Saturday for an inevitable rivalry matchup between their football teams, ELPD was hard at work behind-the-scenes. Police officers were on patrol in 90-degree weather, handling parking in the downtown East Lansing area. Some monitored the flow of traffic, keeping an eye out for drunk drivers. 

Other members of the police force, however, were busy tweeting.

Using the hashtag #ELPDTweetAlong, the ELPD organized a tweeting session for their 2,500+ Twitter followers, in order for them to follow updates during the MSU vs Notre Dame game. In the Department’s first tweet at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23, a member of the police force announced the start of the tweeting session. He and an officer named Officer Woodruff began their trek around East Lansing.

Looking through the Twitter history of ELPD’s previous football game tweet-alongs, it’s no secret that officers like posting humorous anecdotes encountered while on duty. Saturday’s matchup against Notre Dame was no different. When the rivalry game between the Fighting Irish and the Spartans kicked off, ELPD tweeted out a weary request to folks attending the game.

The tweeting session can be viewed as part of a growing trend of how police departments are utilizing social media to reach and inform their public audience. For example, the Facebook page of the Bath Township Police Department has over 18,000 likes, thanks in part to their efforts to engage their audience through humorous posts. For East Lansing specifically, ELPD social media outreach comes in the form of tweets sardonically offering advice to citizens:

When they’re not tweeting doughnut and coffee-related jokes, the ELPD also utilizes their Twitter account to genuinely attempt to ensure public safety. 

At the end of Saturday’s game, after the Spartans lost 38-18 to the Fighting Irish, the ELPD was faced with handling post-game disturbances. 

The tweet-along wrapped up around 2:40 a.m. Sunday, just a little while after bars closed in the downtown area. 

The full Twitter page of the ELPD can be found at the handle @EastLansingPD for those in the East Lansing area who want to keep up in the event of road closures, vehicular accidents, additional tweet-alongs, and other incidents. In the event of an actual emergency, the ELPD asks that you call 911, not tweet to them. 


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