EPD working to make roads safer with the use of social media

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EUREKA- Last year, the Eureka Police Department responded to about 850 traffic collisions.  Hoping to reduce that number, the EPD is now turning to social media.

Starting Wednesday, EPD traffic officers will be using social media to let the public know when and where they will be conducting specialized traffic enforcement details.

"We have been doing it all along.  The only difference is we're going to now tweet it out and tell people ahead of time where we're at," said Chief Andrew Mills, the Police Chief of the EPD.

Traffic officers will be able to post to Facebook and Twitter from the field with their iPhones.  If they are not too busy, they will be able to use those social media platforms to inform the public if they are on the lookout for certain collision factors.

"I think that most people want to conform with the law and most people want to obey traffic laws.  The issue is you forget sometimes so this is an opportunity to remind," said Chief Mills.

The objective of Operation Safe Tweets is not just to let people know when and where they can expect maximum enforcement areas.

"It's not only what we're doing, but what we've accomplished.  Or we can even broadcast out, 'I'm at a major injury collision at the intersection of Broadway and Wabash,' so it can give a little heads up to somebody who might be traveling through town, 'Hey, maybe I should steer clear of that intersection," said Officer Gary Whitmer, the Senior Traffic Officer for the EPD.

Officials say their goal is not to write as many tickets or arrest as many people as possible, but to keep the roads as safe as they can. Operation Safe Tweets is designed to do that. 

"If we can educate the public via social media, and it just puts that little though in somebody's head that, 'Hey, the Eureka Police Department is doing this,' maybe it will remind them to slow down, buckle up and put their phone down and pay attention to their driving and be safe," said Officer Whitmer.

Some officers will continue doing unannounced traffic enforcement throughout Eureka.

You can follow the EPD on Twitter at @Eureka_Police and on Facebook by searching “Eureka Police Department.”