Police seek name for social bird

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The Denton Police Department is seeking the public’s help in naming a new mascot for its Twitter page.

Yes, the popular blue bird that everyone has come to associate with the social media page Twitter is now really dressed in blue.

“Many police departments are putting the Twitter bird in their uniform and using it as their mascot,” said Officer Ryan Grelle, who heads up the department’s social media accounts.

Considering the growing popularity and reach of social media, we can understand why progressive police departments have embraced Twitter, Facebook and other new technology — it’s an effective way to lengthen the long arm of the law.

Denton police are known for using the department’s social media pages for their “most wanted” arrests and helping organize this year’s global “tweet-a-thon,” with more than 100 law enforcement agencies participating across the globe.

Grelle said the department began posting photos of people with outstanding warrants two years ago, and the effort has netted 31 arrests thus far.

In recognition of his efforts to help his department gain an edge in social media, Grelle was recently announced as a finalist for the Connected Cop leadership award.

The award will be presented at the annual Social Media, the Internet and Law Enforcement conference to be conducted in Nebraska in September.

Lauri Stevens, principal of Laws Communications, said this is the second year for the awards and Denton had to compete with law enforcement agencies around the world to become a finalist.

We are told that Officer Grelle is up against Sgt. Christopher Cook of the Arlington Police Department and Deputy James Hart of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office for the award.

Stevens told us that she believes the awards highlight good work from all over, setting a high bar in law enforcement social media practices.

“I created the awards because some police agencies and officers are doing great work and others just think they are,” Stevens said. “Hopefully, by showcasing the good work, others will better understand how much more they can achieve with social media.”

Congratulations on being named a finalist, Officer Grelle, and thanks for your efforts on the public’s behalf. It’s reassuring to know that the police department is taking advantage of social media and will be recognized at the upcoming conference.

And, before we forget, there’s still time to take part in the contest to name the new Twitter mascot. Grelle has been asking followers on Facebook and Twitter to help come up with a name, and after many submissions, he said it’s now down to two names — “Officer Denny” or “Officer DoRight” — for everyone to vote on until Tuesday.

To vote, e-mail policemedia@cityofdenton.com. The winning name will be announced on the department’s Twitter page @DentonPD on Friday.


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