Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton is taking his Boston Irish gift for gab to a new venue starting today when the Los Angeles Police Department launches its first Internet blog, reports the Los Angeles Times. In between telling readers about the good things happening in the LAPD and enlisting the public’s help in the war on crime, the chief and his staff plan to use the new vehicle to rebut news media coverage that they think is misleading or unfair. Although it’s officially an LAPD blog to be maintained by a police lieutenant and his staff, Bratton is expected to submit postings regularly.
The interactive LAPD blog is the next step in an upgrade of the department’s website that began in March. It has since seen the number of monthly visits grow from 13 million to 30 million. Not only will the chief and the department be able to write postings to the public, but people who register with the blog will be able to offer their written comments in response. The idea of a Police Department blog has both potential and some drawbacks, said Larry Gross of University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication. Gross said many of the people the LAPD would most like to reach, including residents of poorer neighborhoods where crime and police activity are high, probably are not regular users of the Internet. On the other hand, the blog may allow new interaction between the police and the policed, he said.