In West and Southwest Philadelphia, sounds of sirens or gunfire send some citizens rushing to a laptop or smartphone, for a direct line to the Fuzz, says the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Fuzz is police detective Joseph Murray, 32, who for two years has used his Twitter account – @TheFuzz9143 – to blast crime-fighting updates. Murray, a third-generation police officer, has used the social-media tool to cultivate a dialogue with those he protects and serves.
Murray tells his 700 followers where and when crimes are happening, very often crimes that don’t make the evening news. He’s ahead of the digital curve in policing – perhaps a little too far ahead. His superiors asked him to suspend tweeting while they develop departmentwide policies and training – a directive Murray does not question. His approach may serve as a road map. Murray has been off-line recently, which put a scare into his loyal followers. In January, a new police mandate required officers to get departmental permission before using their official titles on social-media sites.