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BEPPLE – RCMP missed opportunity to communicate with public via Twitter

IF WE HAVE LEARNED nothing else in the past month here in Kamloops, we have learned that even a tragedy of national proportion such as the crash of the Snowbird on May 17, and subsequent the death of Captain Jennifer Casey and injury of its pilot Captain Rich MacDougall won’t get Kamloops RCMP out on Twitter.

The aftermath on Twitter of the May 17 crash of the Snowbird into the Brocklehurst neighborhood has been enormous, here in Kamloops, across the country, and around the world.

There has been an ongoing stream of news stories, as well as messages of sympathy and support for Casey’s family and friends, for MacDougall, and for all the Snowbirds.  Both on Twitter, and in all other types of media, there were thousands of stories, and messages posted.

The Kamloops RCMP issued just one tweet on Twitter.   Immediately after the event they tweeted “Plane crash in Kamloops”, with an attached press release.

At that point the event was just unfolding, so the press release simply told people to stay away from the Brocklehurst neighborhood.  No mention was made of the Snowbirds, Casey or MacDougall.

After that one terse tweet, the Kamloops RCMP issued no more tweets on the incident.  There were no Twitter follow ups about the crash whatsoever from Kamloops RCMP after the crash.  Nothing.

Meanwhile, a continent away, RCMP Nova Scotia, tweeted a poignant tweet remembering Casey as one of their own:

“Today, our hearts hurt for the @CFSnowbirds as well as their family, friends, comrades and community.  We’re sending thoughts of support to @RCAF_ARC, and we send best wishes to Capt. MacDougall.  #NovaScotiaStrong”

In the last four weeks, the Kamloops RCMP tweeted just three times.  One for a near drowning on the Thompson River, then the tweet about the crash, and a third about a man stealing a row boat on the river.

If anyone was following the police tweets in Kamloops, they would think, aside from an occasional plane crash, our city was a relatively sleepy town.

In the same period of time, Kelowna RCMP has tweeted about TWO missing persons, drug seizures, charges laid on break and entry, traffic collisions, and multiple tweets about bicycle thefts.  They had tweets about an attempted murder, frauds in the Central Okanagan, and a photo of an alleged criminal.

They proactively tweeted about a public Facebook contest for National Police Week, and #TrafficTuesday about vehicles yielding to pedestrians, and cyclists.

They even poked a bit of fun at themselves by showing one of their members getting a “haircut” from the RCMP bear mascot as part of a fundraiser.  And even more tweets than that.

Kelowna RCMP takes its tweeting seriously.  It uses it as a tool to effectively communicate about serious crimes, crime prevention and public information.  The Kelowna RCMP sees the importance of communicating with the public via Twitter.

The citizens of Kamloops deserve the same level of communication on Twitter from the Kamloops RCMP that people in Kelowna get.

The Kamloops RCMP was part of a tremendous first responder action after the Snowbird crash.  Their hands-on response helped keep a tragic event from getting even worse, and kept people safe.  But policing is many things, and one of those things is communicating with the community.

Twitter is an essential way that many people get information, and it is one that Kamloops RCMP needs to take more seriously.

Nancy Bepple is a former City councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.

About Mel Rothenburger (7575 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

4 Comments on BEPPLE – RCMP missed opportunity to communicate with public via Twitter

  1. John Noakes // May 28, 2020 at 10:10 AM // Reply

    A few years ago, the taxpayers paid huge bucks for new radio equipment for the RCMP to have voice encryption on working channels. It was common place for people with “scanners” to hear police calls and then a mad rush was made for people and reporters to get to the scene as quickly as possible.
    With a response to the crash of an aircraft into a residential area, it makes sense that voice encryption was a good thing to have.
    Other agencies still use 2-way radios that do not have voice encryption.
    With the number of RCMP members and vehicles that responded to the crash site, I’m not sure who could have been assigned to an important task like tweeting.
    Some information the public can wait to receive and in this case, I think the RCMP had their hands full and did what was necessary for traffic control to keep people from outside the area rushing to the scene and making matters even worse.

  2. I applaud president Trump idea to shut-down Twitter completely and for good. Twitter is for people with too much time on their hands and if anyone thinks they need Twitter to stay “in the loop” I suggest a complete and thorough re-assessing of what “important” is.

  3. I’ve found @Kamscan on Twitter to be a great source for activity in Kamloops involving law enforcement issues and events, incident reporting, and mentions of anything “newsworthy” or impactful going on in Kamloops.

    After the Snowbird crash, @Kamscan identified location, police and fire dept. involvement, and the fact that the downed plane was a Snowbird plane. An HOUR or so later, the media outlets were reporting the “Breaking” news.

  4. Seriously???

    There was a steady stream of information going out, from numerous sources — I’m sure they felt things were more than adequately covered. As for the RCMP in Nova Scotia? That was her home provinces, so it’s no surprise

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