Police chief to take questions from public on "Tweet the Chief"
On the evening of Thursday, September 22, 2011, at 7 p.m., a new chapter in the history of the Vancouver Police Department will be written when Chief Constable Jim Chu faces the public in a precedent setting live internet broadcast answering questions on Twitter and Facebook.
Chatting live on Twitter has always been a feature of this social medium, but it will be the first time for a police department that live chatter will be accompanied by a live streaming internet broadcast.
In an event being billed as Tweet the Chief, Chief Chu will take questions from anyone in the community or in the world who has access to these mediums.
“The public has a right to know what the police are doing to keep them safe,” said Chief Chu. “At the VPD, we have a communication policy of being open and transparent and by using social media in this fashion, we hope to speak directly to as many people as possible in a live and unedited fashion.”
Questions from Twitter can be sent to the VPD account @VancouverPD or join the Discussion Group “Tweet the Chief” Thursday evening on the VPD Facebook page at www.facebook.com/VancouverPoliceDepartment. The broadcast streams will be visible at 7 p.m. by visiting the Vancouver Police home page at vpd.ca
Chief Chu expects to answer questions mainly about the June 15th Stanley Cup hockey riot and the resulting investigation and impending arrests, but he will welcome questions on any topic.
The broadcast will take place in the VPD’s media room at their headquarters and will include a live audience of VPD volunteers from various crime prevention programs.
This is not a media event, as media are given access to the Department and the Chief through regular media briefings. The media are welcome, however, to send in questions through Twitter or Facebook if they wish.
This is a new use of social media by the VPD and, as far as we know, has not been used by any other chief of any other department.
The VPD currently enjoys more than 18,000 followers on its Twitter account, making it one of the most followed police departments in North America.
Thursday night’s Tweet the Chief event should extend that lead.