Boston’s top cop missing from Twitter, but encourages use by staff

boston police twitter bird illustration
Credit: Metro illustration

Twitter has become an increasingly useful tool in the utility belt of law enforcement and few have used it more effectively than the Boston Police Department, as was seen during last year’s Marathon bombings. 

But at a time when more departments are joining the online conversation and more of the nation’s top cops are taking to Twitter on their own, Boston’s police commissioner is missing an online presence.

Unlike his predecessor Ed Davis and his counterpart in New York City, Police Commissioner William Evans does not have a Twitter profile.

New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton last month began posting messages from @CommissBratton and called it “the start of a beautiful relationship.”

Davis, who began using TweetDeck in 2010, said Twitter users were “another community that we need to stay in touch with.”

Under Davis, the department also encouraged its command staff to have their own Twitter profiles and to “tweet from the beat.” The department’s Twitter account has more than 266,000 followers and is one of the most followed law enforcement accounts in the world. Multiple members of the command staff have Twitter accounts and even police dog Bushido has its own account with thousands of followers.

It’s that sort of engagement that resonates and builds trust with citizens, said Lauri Stevens, a Boston-area social media strategist for law enforcement agencies.

“Social media is about building relationships, so … when you’re the chief and you’re out there, you’re showing you support the effort when you send messages. The citizens really take it to heart and appreciate the fact that they’re getting the message from the chief or any real officer as opposed to an official police account,” Stevens said. “It’s always good to see real people.”

A department spokesman said that Evans is considering joining the Twitter ranks in the future and is committed to the continued use of social media by the department and officers.

“[Evans] supports and encourages the use of social media by his command staff,” said Sgt. Michael McCarthy, a department spokesman. “He sees the use of social media as an important tool in getting information out in a timely manner and to a much broader audience. As was witnessed during the marathon bombings, communication is key. The use of social media is and continues to be a valuable method of communication and information sharing that is in line with the commissioner’s community policing efforts.”

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.


Central Perk opens in SoHo

Central Perk, of "Friends" fame, is giving out free coffee in SoHo through Oct. 18.


Beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch reproaches NFL over domestic abuse

Anheuser-Busch chastised the NFL for its handling of domestic violence cases, making it the first major advertiser to put pressure on the league.


Sen. Krueger dishes on prospect of legal marijuana…

New Yorkers may see the legalization of recreational marijuana use as early as 2015 if State Senator Liz Krueger (D) gets her way. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act will…


New York City agencies to provide healthcare, legal…

Child migrants who have recently arrived in New York City and are going through deportation hearings will now have access to services from multiple agencies,…


FREEMAN makes Freeman a free man from Ween

For nearly 30 years, Aaron Freeman was known endearingly to his listeners as Gene Ween. But with "FREEMAN," he makes it clear that he's gone somewhere else.


'Outlander' recap: Season 1, Episode 6: 'The Garrison…

Whipping, punching, kicking and a marriage contract. "Outlander" is not for the faint of heart this week with "The Garrison Commander."

The Word

The Word: Hey girl, it's a girl for…

It's a girl for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who reportedly welcomed a daughter last Friday, according to Us Weekly. The super-private couple managed to…


TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 16: 'New Girl,'…

Check out the season premiere of "New Girl," as Jess competes with Jessica Biel for a guy's attentions.


5 top contenders for NL Rookie of the…

The outing rekindled award talk for deGrom, who appears to hold the top spot for NL Rookie of the Year honors. Metro breaks down a few other contenders.


College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)


Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.


Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.


Rachel Zoe: New York Fashion Week Spring 15

Rachel Zoe goes 'Glam bohemia' for Spring.


Where to find SweeTango apples

Introduced in 2009, SweeTango — a hybrid of Honeycrisp and Zestar — is a sweet apple with plenty of crunch.


London Fashion Week recap

London Fashion week gets in on the action with politics, heritage and summertime living.


Padma Lakshmi's recipe for green mango curry

Padma Lakshmi shares her recipe for green mango curry in UNICEF's new book, "UNICHEF."