Central Michigan University Police Department gets technical

The Central Michigan University Police Department is heading online – and not to bust criminals.

Recently, the police station has gained 1,000 followers on Twitter, which they use as an additional method to make students on campus feel safe and secure.

Lieutenant Cameron Wassman, who manages the account, said the police department started the Twitter account @cmupd back in May and had about 500 followers when the school year started. The goal of the account is reach out to students to keep them feeling informed and safe. Wassman said he believes CMUPD should have gotten involved with Twitter years ago.

“I believe that a presence on social media is important to get information out in a concise and timely fashion,” Wassman said. “We want members of the CMU community to know important information that may affect them as it happens. Students should feel safe and like they can approach us with any questions or concerns they might have.”

The variety of things Wassman likes to post to Twitter are facts and parking information, lot closures, safety tips, matters of urgency, weather and other relevant information he believes students should know or be aware of at the time. CMUPD felt it needed a new mass notification system that worked in a more timely matter than Central Alert to get ahold of students.

Currently, the police station is looking into developing Twitter Alerts for all CMU students. In the future, Wassman wants more of the police staff on board as account administrators to send direct messages and create two-way communicating.

CMU students agree that CMUPD heading into the online world is beneficial for everyone. Vassar junior Alyssa Bellamy, who follows the Twitter account, said it’s good to see another CMU account on her timeline to provide information about happenings around campus.

“As a criminal justice student myself, I see the Twitter account as a way for (CMUPD) to reach out and become more accessible to the general public,” Bellamy said.

Brighton senior Garret Duffany said it was a great idea for the police department to use social media to reach out to students, since it’s so relevant right now. He said CMUPD will be able to get a better understanding of what’s going on throughout campus.

“I think they will be able to get a sense of what trends are happening on campus and this could improve their efficiency as a department,” Duffany said.