By Bob Uphues
If you're going to roll out a public safety Twitter feed, there's probably no better time than during a global pandemic. And while, Brookfield officials hadn't exactly planned on the timing, the Village of Brookfield Public Safety feed went live on March 30.
The Twitter account had been in the work for some months. Assistant Village Manager George Issakoo, who has been handling the expansion of the village's footprint on social media, got the ball rolling last October with the launch of the village's official Facebook page.
That tool has been a valuable one for spreading information about everything from the U.S. Census to voter info, recreation programs and, more recently, about what the village has been doing to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
A March 26 Facebook post announcing the closure of Brookfield playgrounds got quite a bit of attention, with 73 reactions and 41 shares.
"That's its real value to us -- to get the information out there and have it reshared," Issakoo said. "The village's website is great, but people are only going here if they're looking for something."
The Facebook page has picked up a little more than 1,500 followers since it launched six months ago.
"The response has been fantastic," said Issakoo. "From village staff to board members, people seem pleased with it."
While the Twitter feed is just over a week old, it's already picked up more than 220 followers. It's a tool that'll be used most often by police, although Fire Chief Jim Adams also has the ability to post to the feed.
Deputy Police Chief Michael Kuruvilla will be the main contributor to the feed, said Issakoo. In addition to police- and fire-related information, Issakoo said the Twitter feed is a place where information related to public works – water main breaks, road construction and the like -- will end up.
One of the first tweets was public works/police related, a reminder that as of April 1, the village's street-sweeping program was in effect.
"It's not every bit of information, but it's a quick snapshot of things that come up that might not reach the level of an [email] alert," Issakoo said.
Like the Facebook page, the Twitter feed is not meant to be an interactive, closely monitored tool. It's not checked 24 hours a day and it's certainly not meant as a way for residents to contact police or fire personnel or report incidents or emergencies.
Anyone needing emergency help should dial 911 and non-emergency calls should be directed to 708-485-8131. Anyone looking to report a problem or to ask a question of village staff are asked to email to email@example.com.