Traverse City Record-Eagle

February 7, 2013

From patrol log to patrol blog

Leelanau Sheriff's Dept. to post incident reports on website


SUTTONS BAY — On the rare occasion that crime occurs in Liz Peron's quiet Elmwood Township subdivision, neighborhood association members hop on the Internet to alert other residents.

"We do a lot of Facebooking," she said. "Quite a bit of the neighborhood has computers."

Peron anticipates their chores will be eased with the Leelanau County Sheriff's Department's recent launch of a daily patrol blog. The website details activity such as crashes, break-ins and hazardous driving conditions.

Sheriff's Lt. Clint Kerr administers the page that is updated each weekday at 11 a.m. Kerr said he will make an effort to post significant weekend incidents as they occur, and all other activity will be posted Monday morning.

"We just hope it can be a vehicle to keep the citizens informed and keep them safer," Kerr said.

The department's active online presence follows success of a similar effort created by Grand Traverse County Central Dispatch. The service joined Facebook in June and the page garnered more than 7,500 "likes" and frequent comments that praise the effort.

Dispatch staff post items about crashes, road closures and weather conditions, sometimes totaling up to 10 updates a day.

A post last year helped identify a crash victim within an hour, said dispatch Deputy Director Jason Torrey.

"I don't think, without that Facebook information, that would've occurred as quickly," he said. "We certainly believe that played a major role in finding the family."

Peron said the sheriff's office blog will help inform residents about neighborhood incidents such as car break-ins.

"That's how people communicate now," Kerr said. "If we want to get the word out and have people communicate with us, then we have to get involved in social media."

Visit the blog at leelanau