Riverside police announced they’re trying out a new way of communicating with the public — via Twitter.

Police Chief Thomas Weitzel announced the department’s feed — @pdriverside — on Oct. 31. But the department apparently has been tweeting since mid-October according to its feed. Its first tweet on Oct. 14 announced two students had been charged with felonies related to the Riverside-Brookfield High School senior prank.

Since that time Riverside police have tweeted police alerts as well as announcements related to street closures, police news and community updates on things like TV filming and Halloween hours.

“We’ve been looking into it as a command staff for a while,” said Weitzel. “It’s a way for business owners and residents to follow us if they want to do so. “It’s not just for notification of police activity. It can be used to give information on events, new programs the police are involved in or if police officers are participating in programs at the schools.”

Weitzel said the command staff looked into creating a Facebook page, but decided Twitter made more sense as a communications tool.

The department also uses an online emergency notification system called Nixle, through which they can send subscribers text messages and emails about crime or other emergencies.

According to Weitzel, the Twitter account will be administered by him, Lt. David Krull and Detective Sgt. Frank Lara.

Weitzel emphasized that the Twitter account is for outgoing police information only, and that police staff will monitor it only during regular business hours. Anyone reporting an emergency or needing police assistance should call 911.