Baltimore police can text you with news of shootings and arrests. You can see pictures of officers and their helicopters and horses on Facebook, where you can also add comments, good and bad, on the department’s wall. You can even follow the department on Twitter.
And now, your city cops can send mug shots of wanted felons right to your cell phone.
It’s a new social media adventure that began Monday and could be expanded if it proves useful and popular. Many police departments across the country are online in various ways, but few use instant communication to inform residents of breaking crime news. Many, including those in the suburbs around Baltimore, post press releases or announcements but not news of shootings in real time.
In some ways, it seems strange for city officials — who are sensitive to Baltimore’s frequent ranking among the worst in crime categories such as homicide — to publicize even more crime.
There were some complaints that it wouldn’t be good from a public elations standpoint, to which those involved said too bad we are here to make the city safer and this will do it.