KELLER, Texas -- Anyone who has spent any significant time behind the wheel has probably spotted a police officer cleverly positioned to catch drivers speeding. But in the City of Keller, a city often used as a cut-through during rush hour, police are enforcing traffic laws without the secrecy.
Each morning, the Keller Police Department posts to Twitter and Facebook exactly where its traffic units will be focusing enforcement.
“We are not here to write tickets," Officer Stephen Grossman said. "We are here to prevent accidents and slow people down and make the roads safer."
Despite the fair warning, officers still write plenty of tickets to speeders, but the use of social media has created a valuable tool that's a win-win for both the city and the public.
Since the department began posting enforcement locations three years ago, the department’s Twitter account has grown from less than 3,000 followers to more than 27,000.
The city of Keller has a total population of just more than 45,000 people.
“People did not understand why we were doing [it],” city spokesperson Rachel Reynolds said. “Some thought we should not be giving away where we are going to be, but we have won people over.”
The approach is about changing driving behaviors along with transparency according to the department, but the increased social media presence comes with a variety of benefits.
One of the most valuable is the conversation.
“More people [tweet] as oppose to calling 911. It helps us out and makes us aware of situations,” Grossman said. “We use their complaints as data.”
Reynolds posts the locations on social media, along with the occasional humorous meme or video giving people all the more reason to follow.
And she says the more the better.
“When we do have emergency scenarios, we now can reach more people quickly," she said