By Jeff Todd
BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – After a rash of police shootings over the weekend, some of them being called targeted and ambush, the Breckenridge Police Department is deciding to stop a social media practice that told people where officers would be.
Since November 2014 the Breckenridge police have posted almost daily to their Facebook page what traffic areas would receive more attention.
An example is as follows:
“Traffic enforcement locations:
Monday, November 21:
N Main St
S French St
Disclaimer: Please be aware that officers may enforce traffic laws at non-announced locations and times while they are involved in random patrol. The intent of the Department’s social media announcements is to serve as a general guideline for planned traffic enforcement.”
Breckenridge police started it as a way to grow social media exposure. Over the two years the chief of police says traffic accidents have gone down, and community relations have gone up. But a few hours after posting Monday morning the decision was made to stop the practice.
“It’s just been the last two or three months that have really kept me concerned about officers posting right out on social media where we’re going to be located and what time we’d be there,” Breckenridge Police Chief Dennis McLaughlin said. “I would say this weekend played into my final decision. I was leading toward this.”
The weekend saw a rash of police shootings nationwide, with at least two appearing to be intentional targets. One in San Antonio killed a detective who was writing a traffic ticket.
“What we’ve seen across the nation with the ambushes and random killings for no reason, we thought this was the best thing for officer safety,” said the chief’s statement to the community. “When we posted this on social media today the community has been very positive and receptive for us postponing or canceling now.”
The hope is that the social media postings can return, but right now times are too sensitive for officers.
“I hope to start it again one of these days, I really do, but with the turn of events the anti-policing sentiment in some segments of the United States, for officer safety we wouldn’t post exactly when and where we were.”
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.