Law enforcement is embracing social media. Not only is it a way to disseminate large amounts of information to citizens, but it really does influence the public’s perception of a department.

In honor of National Police Week, we’ve rounded up 4 examples of police using social media in innovative ways:

Police Using Social Media in Palo Alto, CA

In an effort to give some insight into the realities of policing and to bring awareness to Palo Alto’s social media channels, Police Chief Dennis Burns live-tweeted his 13 hour shift on the Palo Alto Police Department’s Twitter account.

The highlight of the night? When Chief Burns pulled over a car balancing a mattress on the roof, secured only by the hands of the driver and the passenger.

police using social media

Police Using Social Media in Seattle, WA

With coverage in publications like Mashable and CNET, Seattle PD is literally a force to be reckoned with when it comes to social media.

Their police blotter reads like a blog, with catchy headlines and often entertaining posts.

police using social media

They also launched a first-of-its kind hyper-local twitter initiative in October 2012.

Tweets by Beat provides twitter feeds of police dispatches in each of Seattle’s 51 police beats—a veritable police scanner for the twitter generation.

Police Using Social Media in Houston, TX

With pages on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, the Houston Police Department recognizes the importance of a social media presence.

Beyond issuing the standard news releases, Houston PD also posts humorous and historical photos on their Facebook page.

Example?  Each Friday they post a picture and invite fans to “beat the caption.”

police using social media

Another cool feature?  They have a Podcast.

Police Using Social Media in Kansas City, MO

Kansas City, Missouri has been testing the waters of the Gov 2.0 movement for some time, and its police department is no different.

On his official blog, Kansas City MO Police Chief Darryl Forte announced in March 2012 that his department was one of the first in the nation to have an official Pinterest account.

The department has 43 boards and over 1,100 pins covering a wide variety of topics including missing persons, cool police vehicles, and the fuzzy friends (dogs and horses) that are on the job.

Check out what we found on the board titled “OOOOPs,” board, which showcases the humorous moments caught by officers dash cams:

Bonus points to KCPD for linking to their YouTube account.

Final Thoughts

These 4 departments are taking civic engagement to a whole new level by using social media to connect with residents.

Though they are some of our favorites, we know that there are others out there.

What are some of your favorites?