While most of Newmarket slept quietly in their beds, the York Regional Police Twitter team, @YRP, hit the streets at about 9:30 p.m. in a late-night ride-along with a staff sergeant from the force’s Real Time Operations Centre (ROTC).
“(The ROTC) is kind of like our organization’s central nervous system. Join us tonight as we tweet from the streets!”
York police’s use of the social media platform as a communication and public outreach tool has amassed a substantial following in recent years. It now boasts 151,000 followers, many of whom engage with the police service’s daily tweets in real-time.
The tweets about car crashes and other crimes strike a serious tone but strike a balance with witticism, at times. Take last night’s Twitter ride-along, for example.
Not long after the #YRPTweetsfromTheStreets began, @YRP tweeted, “Our officers in Vaughan are on the lookout for a 2017 Grey Toyota Camry, plates CBZZ467, that was carjacked in the area of Glen Shields Avenue and Dufferin Street. Give us a call if you see it”. @YRP tagged hip-hop star Drake, who was performing at the Apres Noir event at Vaughan’s Chateau le Jardin, “@Drake isn't the only one down for collabs.”
Along with that Drake tweet, York police posted a photo on Twitter showing its collaboration with Vaughan firefighters and York paramedics outside the venue “working together to ensure that everyone attending a musical event this evening enjoys the show and gets home safe”.
At about 1 a.m., @YRP tweeted thanks for a tip from a concerned citizen, as they “made another impaired arrest on Highway 27 in Vaughan. Drugs and alcohol are believed to be a factor. We’re not giving up”.
“After failing a roadside sobriety test, the driver of this sedan waved goodbye to his ride — from the backseat of a cruiser. The car will be impounded for 7 days and the driver was arrested for impaired over 80. #NotOneMore”, @YRP tweeted.
For those following the social media action as it unfolded, you also learned that the ride-along was led was by York Police Staff Sgt, Andy Graham, a 27-year veteran who has served in the RTOC for the past year.
“He enjoys the role because it gives him the opportunity to mitigate risk and help younger officers at calls, especially in situations that are out of the ordinary,” tweeted @YRP. “Each year, YRP responds to more than 200,000 calls for service.”
“Our RTOC is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is staffed by 1 inspector, 2 staff sergeants and a crime analyst. They keep a pulse on what’s happening across our region. The RTOC is a great resource, helping coordinate police response and manage critical incidents.”
The ride-along ended at 3:30 a.m.
“That's a wrap for tonight's tweet along with Staff Sergeant Andy Graham. Stay safe out there York Region! #YRPTweetsFromTheStreets.”