“We realized a lot of people don't get their information through traditional media anymore, and we wanted to be able to communicate, especially with our student population,” he said.
“It gives a great opportunity for two-way communication.”
Since 2011, DPS has also used the website to keep students informed about what’s happening on campus.
“Twitter is what more students use than Facebook, and if there is something that rises to the same level of popularity, then we will probably investigate using that as well,” said DPS spokesman Randy Young.
“We may begin to use Instagram too, to stir up a little excitement,” he said. “We understand the way people choose to consume information changes.
Freshmen Om Dave said he follows the local police departments on Twitter.
“I think it’s a good thing, because there’s a lot of social media harassment — people are bullied and verbally abused,” he said. “I don’t see anything wrong with it.”
Young said online hate speech that could pose a potential threat would not go unnoticed.
“I would pass that information on to investigators to see if there is any validity to it,” he said.
“But more often than not it is vulgar rhetoric, and in the interest of free speech we don’t stifle that — only if it’s incendiary or if it can be interpreted as hate speech.”
Mecimore said the community has given the police department great feedback about their Twitter presence.
“The thing that has been the most popular is how we regularly tweet out when we are doing license checks or speed enforcement,” he said.
“The point of us doing those things isn't to catch you doing something wrong, it is to change your behavior, and hopefully over time people will get in the habit of driving safer because of it.”