In the past six or so years, La Habra PD has implemented initiatives in social media and technology all in the name of connecting and protecting.
In 2014, Chief Jerry Price explored and implemented the use of social media and a smartphone app as part of the Department’s existing community engagement program. The initiative to design a social media program was tasked to a member of the LHPD Communications Bureau ( the department’s 911 dispatchers) and La Habra PD went live with its first post on Facebook on March 19, 2014. The Department’s first Tweet followed on September 29, 2017.
“When we launched the Department’s social media program, there were not a lot of ‘best practices’ in social media use by police agencies, but the Chief’s goal was to have something that extended our longstanding practice and commitment to ensuring safety in the community and engagement of the community,” said David Gonzalez, La Habra Police Department’s Emergency Coordinator Manager and Social Media Program Coordinator. “So, we built the program based on the City’s motto of ‘a Caring Community’ and the Department’s history of community engagement. We see it as another form of what we’ve always done.”
As part of the willingness to try new things, the Department also had a smartphone app built in 2015 called LHPD Connect, but the Community gravitated toward the social media accounts overwhelmingly and the app was discontinued. Today, La Habra PD has a Facebook Page, a Twitter account, and two personnel are active with profiles on the “Nextdoor” app. The community enjoys the interaction with its department on a daily basis and the variety of platforms available.
“One of the Chief’s goals in 2014 was to have social media as a way to improve how we communicate with the public and how the public can communicate with us; and it worked,” Gonzalez says.
LHPD takes online reports through website
La Habra Police Department implemented an Online Reporting System about 9 years ago as a way to give the community easy access for filing reports and reporting crime tips. The system allows La Habra’s citizens to “eliminate the long wait” when filing reports.
According to Bureau Manager Letictia Elder, who oversees the Online Reporting System, the police department receives between 20-30 online reports monthly, which are reviewed by the on-duty Watch Commander.
“The objective is to allow citizens to file non-emergency, non-injury, no known suspect and no weapons involved incident reports in the comfort of their own home without the frustration of standing in line at the police station or waiting for an officer to arrive to take the report,” said Elder. “The reporting party can also download all the required documentation and receive a response via email confirming the report was received. The process is quick and easy unless additional information is required.”
The list of reports suitable for the online reporting system includes:
- Child Custody Violations
- Credit Card Fraud/Abuse
- Harassing Phone Calls
- Identity Theft
- Lost Property
- Thefts (under $950)
- Thefts from a Vehicle (under $950)
- Vacation Watch Requests
- Vandalism to Vehicle
- Vehicle Tampering
- Shoplifting for business filing
Only crimes that occurred in La Habra are accepted and these reports require a brief description of the incident. Once the report is received, the on-duty Watch Commander will either approve or reject the report. Approved reports will be forwarded to the Records Department for processing.
“We make every attempt to process reports as quickly as possible if all the required information is there,” said Elder. “Online reporting is an enhancement not a replacement of police services. If a citizen is inclined to have direct contact with an officer or report emergencies, visit or contact La Habra Police Department, we are here to server our community.”
Text Crime Tips
The popularity of texting has become the new communication medium of choice over phone calls. La Habra Police Department is embracing the trends by incorporating crime tip reporting via text. Text Crime Tips have been added to its menu of services available to community members as a way to report a crime and remain anonymous.
The Text Crime Tips allows residents to:
Send tips by typing “LHPD” on a cell phone, iPad, or tablet and text it to “TIP411” (847-411). The text message is encrypted, an alias is generated, and the sender’s identity is concealed from the police so the person reporting remains completely anonymous.
The LHPD seeks information on all types of crimes, but if anyone sees a crime in progress or need to report an emergency, as always do not use social media or Text Tip, call 9-1-1.
Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) System
While the existing 9-1-1 system has been a success story for more than 40 years, it has been stretched beyond its limits. NG9-1-1 will provide multi-layered redundancy to accommodate failures and disasters while quickly routing first responders to the emergency using state-of-the-art mapping. This helps to improve response times. NG9-1-1 will reduce 9-1-1 system outages, reduce downtime, and route calls to the correct Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) with 99.999% reliability and eliminate outages. In the not so distant past, when a cell phone called 911 the call went to the California Highway Patrol first and was then transferred to the appropriate police agency. NG9-1-1 eliminates that step and in turn gets services to the caller more efficiently and effectively.