The Milford Police Department (MPD), in an attempt to find ways to open communication with the citizens it serves, has launched a social media campaign, website and mobile app. The Milford Police Department started its facebook page, www.facebook.com/milfordpolicede, on July 31, 2014 and has over 2,800 page ‘Likes’ as their posts have reached hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.
“We contribute the success of the page with the need that the public has to openly connect with the Milford Police Department,” stated officials for MPD in a press release sent to media outlets on Tuesday, December 9. “While the facebook page has many of our press releases, we at the Milford Police Department, have found that it can be entertaining as well. We have had some fun with the community with our ‘Notes to the Chief’ and ‘Caption This Picture.’
In September of 2014, the Milford Police Department, began posting press releases to Twitter, www.twitter.com/milfordpolicede, and launched a new website, www.milfordpolicede.org. According to police officials, this website will be utilized for both the community and the media to access the police department’s press releases. All press releases will be launched through the website, which is set-up much like the Dover and Smyrna Police Department’s website through wordpress.com. The public can scroll through the menu and find pages that allow individuals to leave crime tips, commend an officer and contact special units within the police department. Most of the pages dedicated to specialized units will have a web form that will e-mail the unit, after the required information is filled out by the user.
On Tuesday, December 9, Milford Police also announced the launch of their new app, My Police Department, or MyPD for short, for Android and iPhone phones and tablets. The free MyPD app allows citizens to easily connect with the police department directly from their device. The app has around 40 potential features and the department can turn them on and off depending on what they want to display at certain times.
“Members of the public can get important updates from us as push notifications” said Det. John Horsman of the Milford Police Department. “We can send the notifications through twitter or our dashboard and the user doesn’t need an account or to worry about missing an important tweet or message. We encourage users to opt in to messages if they want to be informed quickly of new updates or alerts.”
Police state that since crime and safety issues are important for citizens to know about, the app includes resources and links on a number of topics including victim resources, domestic violence, press releases and missing children. Users of the app will be updated with pictures of wanted persons, missing people and other announcements. Sending in tips about crimes or other quality of life issues is another way citizens can use the Milford Police MyPD app. It allows the user to either attach their contact information or send it anonymously. Photos and GPS locations of incidents can also be attached from either the phones gallery or live camera.
While the app links to or integrates with some social media, police say it is not another social network. There are also no ads on the app and no account is necessary to use MyPD. “We have been using social media like facebook and twitter since August 2014,” said Det. Horsman. “The MyPD app is not meant to replace those or be another social network. It is a tool for citizens to keep on their phones so when they need a phone number, to send a crime tip, or want to research something they have it readily available in an easy to use app.”
While the app is not a social media platform, it does have some social aspects to it and has a feature where users can “unlock badges,” the more they use the app and interact with the police department. “Basically the app user can climb in rank and unlock new badges,” said Det. Horsman. “We will build on this idea with future versions and find new ways to interact with our app users.” The app also now lets users share some basic anonymous data about their age, gender or how they found out about the app. This is optional and if shared will help the department to better understand who is using the app, how they found it and if they live or work in the city. Citizens looking to connect with the Milford Police should search for “MyPD” in their app store.
In Tuesday’s release, the Milford Police Department stated that the department “could not have moved forward with this social media campaign without the direction and support of the Dover Police Department, specifically PIO Cpl. Mark Hoffman.”
“We, at the Milford Police Department, followed the Dover Police’s social media and mobile app for months,” stated the release. “After seeing the positive response from the community and how quickly the community solved crimes, the Milford Police Department requested Dover’s help in starting our own social media campaign.”
For additional information about the My Police Department app users can visit www.milfordpolicede.org or MyPDapp.com.