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For Immediate Release
September 27, 2013

The Redwood City Police Department Receives California Peace Officers' Association's Award of Distinction

The Redwood City Police Department has been selected to receive the California Peace Officers' Association's Award of Distinction. This prestigious award is presented each year to a small number of selected law enforcement agencies for outstanding accomplishments and ongoing operational activities that perform great service to their communities. The Department's efforts in using social media to connect with communities throughout Redwood City were the focus of this special honor. Department members will be present to receive the award at a state-wide leadership summit in Ontario in November.

During the past year, the Department's Social Media Team has connected and informed residents through innovative strategies such as Video Chat, virtual town hall meetings, virtual ride-a-longs, and multi-lingual outreach.  The Department's Social Media Team is comprised of personnel from across the Department, including patrol officers, detectives, command staff, and a youth specialist. Program staff members constantly strive to keep Redwood City communities informed of crime trends, upcoming events and other information designed to empower and inform those communities.

The Redwood City Police Department's Social Media Team was formed in June 2011, and is designed to facilitate robust communication between the Department and the communities it serves. The implementation of the Video Chat program received national media attention. The program prompted IDG's Computerworld to select Police Chief JR Gamez as a 2013 Premier 100 IT Leaders honoree, which acknowledges individuals who have had a positive impact on their organization through exceptional technology leadership and innovative approaches to business challenges.

In September 2012, the Department was internationally recognized for its outstanding work using social media and Video Chat when it was awarded the Connected COPS: Excellence at a Small Agency Award. The Department was the only Law Enforcement Agency from the United States selected in any recipient category. The judging criteria for this award included leadership, creativity and innovative use of social media and technology to engage, educate, and foster collaborative relationships with the public. 

The practical usefulness of the Department's social media strategies was evidenced in November 2012 when our community rallied with law enforcement help avoid a potential tragedy.  A local family reported that their elderly non-English speaking mother, visiting from Japan, was missing and considered to be in grave danger due to prevailing weather conditions. After conventional search techniques stretched police resources, the Department's Social Media Team published a community alert with a photograph of the missing woman to over 1300 email and text mobile device subscribers, and then posted the information to the Police Department's 4700+ Facebook and Twitter followers. In less than 13 minutes, a social media subscriber notified the Department of the disoriented missing person's whereabouts and she was reunited with her family.  This and other such examples demonstrate the usefulness of social media and of how the Redwood City Police Department has leveraged this technology effectively and affordably.

Throughout 2013, the Department continued to expand the strategy of utilizing social media to engage in participatory dialogue with the community. The Department consistently began utilizing a variety of social media tools including Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, YouTube, Flickr, NIXLE and Vimeo, which were used to provide a variety of interactive platforms that offered familiarity and ease of use to community members. 

If you'd like to read more about our Social Media Program or get connected to our social media pages, please visit:  

Visit Redwood City's award-winning website at for information about the City and its services, events, the community, recreation programs, education, and local business. Subscribe to Redwood City's email newsletter and other City documents by visiting


Captain John Spicer
Redwood City Police Department


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