CV Sheriff’s Station Ramps Up Facebook Page

Screenshot courtesy Facebook
In an example of a recent post on the CV Sheriff’s Station Facebook page, Lt. Mark Slater shared information about a citizen’s role in a DUI arrest.

The Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station stepped up local patrols — and its social media presence.
Visitors to the station’s Facebook page — @CrescentaValleySheriffsStation — will find news about a DUI arrest on Monday night, a car that overturned early Sunday and wound up on somebody’s lawn, as well as information about street closures related to Saturday’s Amgen Tour of California Bicycle Race.
“Society being so social media-minded, we want to make sure we engage with the community on the same level they’re communicating on a daily basis,” Lt. Mark Slater said.
Slater has been charged “with keeping things up-to-date and interesting” on the Facebook page, Capt. Chris Blasnek wrote.
“There are three new lieutenants here,” Slater said. “The captain had a meeting with us and just threw it out there. We looked at each other and I said, ‘I’ll do it.’”
Slater said he received 16 hours of training at county headquarters on the legalities and expectations related to social media posting on behalf of the sheriff’s department. His kids have also given him some useful tips, said Slater, who hopes soon to expand his messaging to Twitter and Instagram.
He said he doesn’t mind the new, additional duties because he sees the value in communication — and limited engagement; “I can’t sit here for eight hours a day but I may go back a couple of days later and ‘like’ a comment,” he said — via social media.
“We shouldn’t be secretive about what’s going on,” Slater said. “We should be educating the community, whether ‘we had a drunk driver last night,’ or ‘the Amgen race is coming to town.’ Before the public had to find out on their own, but now we can get that information out in a more timely manner.”
In his post about the DUI arrest at around 9 p.m. Monday on Foothill Boulevard, Slater wrote: “… a citizen called in a possible impaired driver. Deputies located the vehicle and after an investigation, the driver was arrested for DUI. Preliminary tests revealed the driver was over the legal limit. Thank you to the community for your partnership to ensure safety for the motorists using the roadway.”
Like a pro, he added the hashtags: #DONTDRINKANDDRIVE, #GETINVOLVED, #DESIGNATEADRIVER and #DRINKRESPONSIBLY.
“What was going through my mind on that one was the citizen engagement,” Slater said. “A member of the community sees something and decides to say something and it resulted in an arrest. So it goes along the lines of no matter how small, if something is out of the ordinary, say something and let law enforcement investigate if there’s anything there or not, especially when it comes to impaired drivers. We want to get them off the road as quickly as possible.”
The “LCF Community Watch” private Facebook group already is a popular local site for residents to share public safety tips, with more than 600 members. The CV Sheriff’s Facebook page has been liked more than 1,800 times, with a slight uptick in recent days.
Slater said the challenge is training his colleagues to deliver information and visuals from their calls so that he can pass those along to the public.
“I’m trying to get them to take a few pictures after the officer safety part of it settles down,” Slater said. “That part is going to take a little bit, though.”
The posts might also help humanize his colleagues on the force: On Mother’s Day, Slater posted, “Happy Mother’s Day, and although most of you will be celebrating with your mothers, we wanted to wish a very special Mother’s Day to our two mothers on duty today. Since deputies work 24/7, sometimes their schedules require them to work holidays. We will always have deputies working and handling the calls for service, even on holidays.”
For his part, Slater’s captain likes what he sees: “So far,” Blasnek said, “he is doing an outstanding job.”

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