The digital revolution will be…sparsely attended.
Points for effort, but Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard’s first Twitter town hall (transcript below) attracted few participants — about a handful over an hour’s time. A few participants asked multiple questions, and the RPD filled the remaining time by plugging PAC-TAC and other police programs, sharing neighborhood crime maps, and telling people how to become police officers.
Sheppard also shared an RPD promotional video, to which someone replied “Disgusting,” and linked to a Nazi propaganda video.
Sheppard answered questions on human trafficking, children’s safety, how to report suspicious activity, respect for police, and the RPD’s role in improving the perception of the city.
Someone asked Sheppard if ShotSpotter — the city’s gunshot detection system — is effective. Sheppard said it is “very accurate” and has resulted in arrests. But a February 2012 story in City paints a different story. We showed that 3,306 ShotSpotter alerts from January to November 2011 had resulted in only six arrests.
The town hall — the first of four Sheppard will do this month — was heavily promoted. But the poverty in the city and its related issues: lack of computers and Wi-Fi connection, may have played a role in the poor participation.
The next Twitter town hall is from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, January 15.