March 21, 2017 6:52 pm
Updated: March 21, 2017 9:07 pm

How Regina police are using Twitter to keep Saskatchewan streets safer

WATCH ABOVE: From tweeting police dogs to traffic enforcement, the Regina Police Service is using hashtags to gain followers and spread awareness. Jules Knox rides along with an officer who uses social media to increase traffic safety.

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Live tweets from life on the beat are catching online attention in Regina.

The man behind most of the traffic tweets is Const. Curtis Warnar.

“It’s just a good opportunity because 99 per cent of the work that we do, especially on the enforcement side where we’re handing out tickets, is mostly negative,” Warnar, who is part of Regina police’s traffic safety unit, said. “So this is a really good way of getting positive messages out.”

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Warnar is hoping his tweets, which can be found at @RPSTrafficUnit, can help keep Saskatchewan’s streets a little safer.

“Obviously our roadways, especially in Saskatchewan, over the last few years have been very, very unsafe and there’s been a lot of deaths on the roadway,” he said. “If we can prevent that through social media and through education rather than enforcement, rather than having those really tragic stories where people are losing their lives, that would make our jobs a lot easier as well.”

Traffic Tip Tuesdays, How-Fast Fridays and even a dose of cop humour are spread through Warnar’s tweets. He hopes they will help educate the public about laws and penalties they might not know about and bring home what’s happening in their neighbourhood.

“You can say it in words, but when people see, like holy cow, I live like three blocks from where you were and people were driving that fast through my neighbourhood, it just creates awareness for people,” he said.

Regina Police Service has gained nearly 14,000 Twitter followers and 6,000 Facebook followers in the last year, plus numerous likes and retweets.

“We use our social media also for things like asking for people with warrants to come forward, or to identify somebody as a suspect in a crime,” Kim Schmidt, Regina Police Service Social Media Officer, said. “It’s just a good way for the public to help us out as well.”

With more than 2,800 Twitter followers, the constable behind @RPSTrafficUnit is even getting recognized around town.

“There’s been a couple people who have been stopped by him who are like, hey, aren’t you the twitter cop?” Schmidt laughed.

Police dog Merlot, who can be found at @PADSk9Merlot, also has a notable twitter account.

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