Eau Claire Police using new online tool for community involvement

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Eau Claire Police are utilizing a new online resource at the department, bringing community members a new tool to connect with law enforcement.

Nextdoor is a free social networking platform that isn’t new to the world but will now be used by local police in Eau Claire. Nearly 3,500 Eau Claire residents are currently utilizing next door. "It’s something that’s been going on for quite some time. I believe it was developed back in 2008,” said Lieutenant Derek Thomas. It can be accessed from a computer or mobile app. People are using it for everything from finding a babysitter, locating a lost dog or starting a neighborhood watch.

Users must be vetted before joining, making it more trustworthy than other online platforms.
Eau Claire police say they will continue to use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to communicate with the community but Nextdoor is another unique opportunity to connect on important topics. The department says Nextdoor is different from other social media outlets because it allows them to focus on specific neighborhoods in the community.

Each District Lieutenant, Crime Analyst, and Public Information officer will be active on Nextdoor to answer neighborhood questions and relay information to community members. "When we have certain crimes or potential issues that happen within a particular neighborhood, this is a great way to speak directly to that neighborhood about what's going on within their neighborhood and they're at least aware of what's happening and they can take the necessary precautions in order to stay safe and keep their properties safe" said Lieutenant Jim Southworth, North District Commander.

Another goal is to share information in a timely manner, allowing officials to get information to the public without waiting for the next neighborhood association meeting for a particular area.

Officials say Nextdoor won’t replace traditional crime reporting, you’re still encouraged to call 911 in an emergency, Nextdoor will just be an additional resource for community involvement.

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