Fully embracing social media to expand its dialogue with the community, the La Habra PD has gone live with a Facebook page, a page on behindthebadgeoc.com and soon will add a smartphone app and its own portal.
“Our new social media program is the most contemporary way for us to demonstrate our longstanding commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of all our residents and businesses that make our city such a great place to live and work,”La Habra Police Chief Jerry Price said. “We look forward to using these new tools to improve the way we communicate with the public, and vice-versa.”
The effort to modernize the department’s communication tools began in earnest in November 2013, when part-time police dispatcher David Gonzalez was asked by Price to look into establishing a smartphone app. The department’s Facebook page has already been established and the app will soon launch; while La Habra PD’s Behind the Badge site is set to debut Monday.
“This entire effort has been interesting and rewarding,”said Gonzalez, a dispatcher since November 2007. “One of the most interesting things is the self-improvement that happens when serving people and working closely with the community. And I get to work with a team of really good, giving, willing colleagues in dispatch as well as the officers in the field.”
Prior to becoming a part-time dispatcher, Gonzalez was a Community Service Officer assigned to the traffic bureau. Before that, he was a police jailer.
In addition to serving as La Habra PD’s social media guru, Gonzalez, who has worked for the agency for 17 years not counting volunteer time, is a doctoral candidate in the University of La Verne’s Doctor of Public Administration program, as well as a full-time professor of public administration at Brandman University.
Although he lives in Whittier, Gonzalez considers La Habra, where he used to live, his second home. He’s excited to see the La Habra PD fully embrace social media.
“It represents a new mode of literacy,” Gonzalez said. “Historically, we’ve seen these transitions before —letters by pony, then the telegraph, then the telephone. As with any ‘language’or mode of communication, being able to be in the conversation is so important to success.”
“And in this case, success means service to the community, as well as working and collaborating with people.”