NORTH ADAMS -- The local police department has bolstered its online presence in recent months, coinciding with several headline-grabbing crimes.
NAPD has actively used its Facebook page to alert citizens about incidents and provide them with the week's police blotter.
There was a high public demand for the blotter, according to North Adams Police Sgt. James Burdick. It was posted on the department's Facebook page for the first time on Sept. 30.
The logs will be posted on the page as a PDF file every Monday.
Police are considering expanding the use of its Facebook by also posting warrant lists, according to Burdick.
"In the era of social media, it's a great tool to use," Burdick said.
In addition to releasing information, the police have also received legitimate tips on crime through their Facebook page. Comments are screened, according to Burdick, so when sensitive information is posted, it can be taken down before being read by the public.
As crimes in North Adams continue to make the news, more people are "liking" the force's Facebook page and signing up for the CodeRED system. Installed in 2012, CodeRED sends automated calls to North Adams residents alerting them to recent crimes, road closings and other incidents.
"[NAPD] can target specific neighborhoods" with the alerts, Burdick said.
Police sent out a CodeRED alert after the stabbing of a cab driver on Brayton Hill Terrace in September. Subsequent tips to police helped lead to an arrest just days after the attack.
"It worked very well in that also," Burdick said.
Another CodeRED went off after the killing of Ellen DePaoli last month and during a tractor trailer accident earlier this year.
The department has also used its modern tools to hear feedback from the public.
In a Sept. 25 Facebook post, the department asked to "hear from everyone about their positive interactions with individual North Adams Police Officers or dispatchers." The post garnered 22 comments and 48 likes.
One comment thanked Officer Zachary Wood "for being patient and helpful in taking information from me related to a recent theft of personal property."
Another user recounted how Officer Christopher Gelinas waited for roadside assistance with her after her car broke down at 3:30 a.m. one day. Gelinas drove her home so she didn't have to ride in the tow truck, according to the post.
"We've had a very good response from the public," Burdick said.
In a Sept. 17 post, the department thanks residents for using the page, but also stressed accuracy when sharing information.
"We cannot express how crucial it is to be accurate as possible when passing along information using this type of media," the department wrote. "First-hand information is just that, first-hand."
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