San Diego Police Department

San Diego Police Reaching out Directly on Social Media

SDPD says it's trying to be more transparent via social media platforms

NBC Universal, Inc.

A Friday morning Tweet caught the newsroom’s attention. Each line was spaced apart and told a story about a recent traffic stop by the San Diego Police.

 “A traffic stop.
Driver tries to walk away.
Reaches for his waistband.
Officers says, “Stop.”
Driver stops.
Driver admits to having gun in waistband.
Driver safely handcuffed.
Gun safely secured.
Driver on probation & prohibited from carrying firearms.
All safe.”

The Tweet from the SDPD  included a picture of a handgun and some bullets.

“Everybody’s safe. That’s how it goes 99% of the time for us,” SDPD Sgt. Matthew Botkin told NBC 7. “Everybody gets to live to have another discussion another day, and that’s what we want.”

Botkin said the Tweet is an example of the San Diego Police Department's desire to simply do better.

“There’s a greater demand from the public to know why we do what we do, the reasons why we’re doing things, and we think that’s OK," Botkin said. "We’re a department that’s okay with that."

“We, as a profession, historically, haven’t done a really good job of telling that story and explaining it to people,” Botkin continued.

Botkin said the department has spent most of 2020 trying to be more transparent on social media. Transparency has been a primary demand during recent social justice rallies.

“One of the greatest ways we can do that is to hit a button and message out to 600,000 people,” Botkin said.

Botkin said that SDPD is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Nextdoor, TikTok and Reddit. He said police officers regularly respond to people on those platforms.

The sergeant said it’s about building trust with the community. Nationwide, trust in law enforcement has plummeted in 2020.

“Are we more sensitive to it? Yeah," Botkin said. "Are we paying attention even more? Sure, we are. The trust factor: That’s just going to come with time. It’s going to come with engagement on both sides.”

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