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Bethlehem police take part in global tweet-a-thon

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 21 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 22 2013 05:39:09 PM CDT

The Bethlehem Police Department took more than 1,000 people for a ride-a-long with its officers this morning.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

The Bethlehem Police Department took more than 2,000 people for a ride-a-long with its officers Friday morning. The behind -the scenes-look came courtesy of Twitter.

Bethlehem was the only department in Pennsylvania to participate in the Global Police Tweet-a-Thon. Close to 200 police departments around the world participated, including a departments in Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Early in the morning, Bethlehem police told more than 2,200 people to ride with them by following the tweet-a-thon.

"Gives them an opportunity to see what we do on a daily basis," said Sgt. Robert Urban, public information officer for the Bethlehem police.

The first tweet was about officer training and then the handling of routine calls. A slow day for some larger departments, but typical for Bethlehem, police said.

"People believe police work is about vehicle chases, foot pursuits, and at times that is the case, but a typical day is a couple of vehicle stops, maybe a traffic violation, maybe a minor vehicle crash," added Urban.

Officers did have to find a child who left class at Seton Academy. They also joked with some Twitter followers, who offered to help them solve crimes in the city.

"Humor is a part of their life," said Urban. "It's just kind of natural human element of police officers, and that's also the other interesting aspect with this. We're able to show that and get that across to people who normally don't see that."

The department said it hopes to participate in this type of event again. Officers said it's a way to build positive relationships and get help when solving crimes.

"It's been a tremendous asset," added Urban.

Police said reaching a lot of people has been easier with Twitter, often reaching close to 10,000 followers in five minutes if one tweet gets re-tweeted.