La Habra police to connect with community using social media


After making its debut on social media a year ago this month, La Habra Police are now celebrating an expanded presence across multiple platforms to better connect with residents.

La Habra police recently launched its latest addition to its social media program: a smart phone app that gives residents access to real-time crime alerts, news information and crime prevention tips.

Users also will be able to access a crime map and the department’s social media pages through the app.

“The new La Habra phone application is going to be a great resource for La Habra residents and business owners,” said Police Chief Jerry Price. “It’s another way for residents to communicate with the police department.”

Developing a stronger bond with the community by tapping into technology has been among departmental goals for Price, who in November 2013 pushed to modernize LHPD’s communication tools.

Price asked part-time police dispatcher David Gonzalez to develop a social media program.

LHPD now has an active Facebook page, Twitter account and is hoping residents will take advantage of the new app, Gonzalez said.

“It shows our commitment and our dedication to communicating with the residents,” said Gonzalez, a full-time professor of public administration at Brandman University. “It shows that this is not just a one-way conversation.

“Social media is the new literacy.”

A stronger social media presence also has spawned more community outreach, allowing residents to interact face-to-face with the men and women policing their community.

In December, the department started monthly Coffee with a Cop outings, which they promote on their Facebook page.

“Although it’s not directly part of our social media campaign, it is related,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a big deal in the community that we have these things.”

La Habra police now are working to put together a team of employees, both sworn and non-sworn, that will help run its social media programs.

“It’s interesting to see it slowly evolve,” Gonzalez said. “We’re now at a point where the community is talking about our Facebook page, they’re talking about our app.

“It’s all positive.”