August 17, 2016 7:45AM
To help spread their message and connect with the younger generation, the Pittsburg Police Department has recently stepped up its social media game.
On Twitter, specifically, the PPD has increased its level of interaction and engagement with Pittsburg area residents, Pittsburg State University and even the national police community.
“We are working hard to bridge whatever gap may exist between the department and the younger, student population in Pittsburg,” said Major Brent Narges. “Social media, of course, is the best tool for that.”
It also helps, Narges said, to be able to look at issues through the eyes of the demographic the department is trying to reach. That’s where Haley Gilmore comes in.
Gilmore is a senior public relations/marketing student at Pittsburg State who has spent her summer as an intern at the police department. Gilmore, an Olathe native, interns on a volunteer basis as a way of gaining valuable, real-world experience.
“I told my adviser in the spring that I wanted to intern somewhere in Pitt so I can get a look at real-world experiences that I could face once I graduate,” she said. “It was suggested that I talk to the police department, and it all worked out.”
Gilmore works closely with the crime analysis team and helps develop a monthly crime bulletin that is distributed via social media.
“The crime bulletin, for example, is something we’ve done here that is improved by having Haley’s youthful eyes on it,” Narges said. “She’s able to work with it and give it a good look that is visually appealing to the eye.”
Gilmore said she’s enjoyed the experience of helping the department think differently about public relations.
“Whether it’s a meme or a GIF on social media, it’s been fun looking at what gets people’s attention,” she said. “Even at a police department, you can discuss serious topics in ways that are engaging and relatable.”
Gilmore said she’s also enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look at the police department.
“This has been an amazing experience to have because it shows you just how much you don’t know about what goes on at an organization like this,” she said. “It’s much more work than I even imagined.”
Narges said the department enjoys working with Pitt State students and that it enhances the partnership between the city and the university.
“The relationship between the city and Pitt State is vital to the success of both institutions,” he said. “We share ideas, we help one another and we both want what is best for the other. Whether it’s working together on a project or having PSU students interning in city departments, that relationship continues to mature and thrive.”