There are certain tools of the trade that people associate with police work. Things like handcuffs, billy clubs and donuts. ( Zing! Try the veal,>"/>
There are certain tools of the trade that people associate with police work. Things like handcuffs, billy clubs and donuts. (Zing! Try the veal, folks!)
Rarely, however, is a blog included in that list. But in Seattle that might soon change, thanks to a new effort launched by SPD this week going by the dorky title of Captain's Log.
What is Captain's Log, you might wonder? "It's Initiative 17 stuff," says SPD's Sean Whitcomb, referring to the agency's 20/20 plan - a 20 initiative effort to reform Seattle's police force and better connect with the community that was launched a year ago this month.
But to be more specific, Captain's Log is a new feature on the SPD website where the police captains from the city's five precincts will blog - at least once a month - about localized topics specific to the area they serve. According to Whitcomb, the idea is to make citizens from every precinct "feel connected" with the police force that protects them.
Specifically, the SPD 20/20 plan's initiative 17 states:
In order to build trust between the police and the public, as well as to help the community fight crime and protect public safety, effective two-way communication is required. The Seattle Police Department is building an interactive response information network which will provide public safety information to the community in a way that is interesting, transparent and localized. Develop and implement an integrated news channel to distribute a variety of content in multiple formats (print, video, audio, photo).
And as part of initiative 17 SPD vows to, "Use social media including Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, to communicate with local communities and share relevant stories and information as often as possible."
Which is exactly where Captain's Log comes in.
"The goal is to provide additional information that's a little more relevant to neighborhood interests," says Whitcomb. "It fits in with this broader mission of having people feel connected to those who are serving them in public safety."
While Captain's Log ties in nicely to the SPD 20/20 plan and specifically Initiative 17, Whitcomb says it's actually something the agency has been talking about doing for years. The 20/20 plan, according to Whitcomb, simply provides "a good excuse."
So far two precinct captains have blogged - South Precinct Captain Steve Paulsen has busted out two posts, and West Precinct Capetian Jim Dermody has written one. According to Whitcomb, Seattle's other three precinct captains will soon be following suit.
So are the captains excited about all this blogging?
After a lengthy chuckle, Whitcomb assures that Seattle's newest bloggers see the benefit.
"I'm sure the captains see the potential there," says Whitcomb. "To a degree it's extra work, but the idea is you're already doing that work. ... Basically, it's time spent versus value added."
And Whitcomb says there's plenty of value to the endeavor.
As for the name - which is obviously Star Trek inspired - Whitcomb says the credit is shared.
"We're all big nerds," he tells Seattle Weekly.