Social media presence an asset

Published 6:00 am Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Oxford Police Department has been putting a heavy emphasis on social media usage as a way to get information out to the community and to build a positive, energetic reputation.

The OPD’s force is a young one, with many officers in the under-30 age range. Oxford also has a significant young population with the University of Mississippi. It’s great the OPD is using tools that allow it to reach that segment of Oxford’s population.

The most recent effort from the department was a two-minute video on how to navigate the West Jackson Avenue and Highway 6 interchange from every possible direction. Officials released it just in time for the Saturday Ole Miss football game, the season opener. It was viewed by more than 1,000 people, which could mean lives and property saved while traveling the deemed-dangerous roadway. The police department should be thanked for its efforts.

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Likely next up for Hildon Sessums, the enterprising officer who is leading social media efforts, is creating a video for another complicated spot on West Jackson Avenue — the lane divider near the entrance to Walmart.

So many people do not follow the rules of the road at that spot, whether they are breaking the rule or simply don’t know how to navigate the road configuration. Any effort at educating the public is positive and a good use of the taxpayer’s money.

Another good use of taxpayer funds is the department’s Twitter ride-along. Sessums goes on calls, particularly in the Square area on a weekend night, and Tweets in real life what he sees and what’s going on for the police force. It’s a great way for police to reach out to the college students out on a weekend, and even other residents at home watching television with their families. From home they can what’s going on in picturesque Oxford from the comfort of phones on their couch, either in real time or the next morning.

Oxford’s police are doing more with social media than the majority of police departments in the state, and they are using examples of positive uses of Twitter, Facebook and more in larger national cities to generate ideas that work for us. There’s really nothing but positive things to say for these efforts, especially in a world where people would rather send a text message than pick up a phone or go have a chat with an officer.