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UIPD Plans Social Network Ride-Along

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IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Like a lot of law enforcement in recent years, the University of Iowa Police Department has been using the social networking service Twitter as a fast and easy way to connect with the public.

"We try to keep people posted about the weather, if there's an incident happening on campus," said Oleta McKenna, with the University of Iowa Police. "We do have 2,459 followers."

But, coming up next week, the department will be trying something new with their account. It's called a "tweet-along," kind of a digital version of a ride-along.

"Someone will sit with a police officer. They'll do a ride-along and tweet to our followers about what the officer is doing," said McKenna. "I think it's very important that the community know what our officers do on a regular basis. I do think that the community finds it interesting, as well."

A UI dispatcher got the idea after seeing some tweet-along tweets from other police departments across the country.

Iowa City officers said twitter followers can expect a lot to happen during a typical night on patrol.

"Crimes, such as thefts, alcohol related offenses. Possible traffic crashes due to the weather," said Jeff Salsbery, an officer with the University of Iowa Police.

The tweeting will begin next Wednesday evening, January 22nd, at five and go until seven. Officials said it may last longer if it's a busy night.

If you miss it, the P-D said not worry. More tweet-alongs are being planned for the future.

"We would love feedback. If this is something that the people enjoy, this is something that we can continue," said McKenna.

The UIPD's twitter handle is: @UIowa_Police.