Wichita The Wichita Police Department is using social networking tools to try to catch criminals and recruit new officers.
It has created its own YouTube channel to go along with its Facebook page and Twitter account.
While the department isn’t the first in the country to set up a YouTube channel, Lt. Troy Livingston says it is “leading the pack” in many ways in Kansas.
He said the social networking effort allows the department to reach younger people who might otherwise be missed, since they are watching less and less TV and spending more time on the Web.
The department’s YouTube channel includes footage from a Dec. 1 burglary in which someone backed a white sedan through the front of a convenience store. That video was viewed 225 times in the first eight hours.
“Those 225 may not have seen it on TV,” said Livingston, who spearheaded the development of the YouTube channel.
Along with surveillance footage of crimes, police spokesman Gordon Bassham and Livingston said, the channel will feature segments called “Behind the Badge” that can focus on emerging issues — such as home safety in the wake of an increase in burglaries in a particular neighborhood.
Livingston also plans to link to stories by The Wichita Eagle and local television stations.
The department has had a Facebook page since late November, and its Twitter account has been active for about eight months. The Facebook page has nearly 1,000 fans, while the Twitter account has more than 1,100 followers.
Livingston said the different sites are linked, so when an alert goes out it shows up on the department’s Twitter account as well.
The next step is to add podcasts to the mix.
“We’re kind of excited about how we’re setting this up,” he said.