Power of social media

Flowers covering the Cenotaph in Ottawa where Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shot

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The attacks on the War Memorial and Parliament Hill on October 22, 2014, presented significant challenges to the Ottawa Police Service's social media channels. Communication was a paramount concern throughout the day and also in the weeks that followed.

Issues of public safety were of vital concern and officers went to communities throughout the city to ensure security for residents. However, many people began tweeting where they saw police, creating a major problem for establishing a safe environment for citizens and police, alike.

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In a situation like this, social media can sometimes run counter to the work of police. However, as the demand to communicate online increases, OPS is committed to rising to these challenges and continues drawing from the positive aspects social media has to offer. OPS Twitter and Facebook accounts are very active with nearly 50,000 followers! Social media is proving to be a great resource for gaining public attention for ongoing situations.

In May 2014, Ottawa Police launched a new look to ottawapolice.ca that featured an accessible design, simplified navigation and an upgraded search engine - not to mention our Online Reporting and an App that provides access to online reporting, crime maps, traffic disruptions, a collision toolkit, a call police function, find a police station and more!