San Bernardino sheriff credited for alerting public early, often - CBS46 News

San Bernardino sheriff credited for alerting public early, often

Posted: Updated:
ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Throughout yesterday's attack, the San Bernardino sheriff and police sent emergency alerts using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

They are getting praise for keeping everyone informed,

If there was a dangerous shooter on the loose in Atlanta, you would probably want local law enforcement to give constant updates to let you know what's going on.

Can we expect the same level of communication as they saw in California?

In San Bernardino, the sheriff's department got on Twitter almost immediately, telling everyone to stay away from the area, even sending maps of the places to avoid.

The Sheriff kept sending alerts until the shooters were finally tracked down.

Each message reaching thousands of eyes through shares and retweets. 

Atlanta Police know just how important it is to connect with people on social media, but they said balancing speed and accuracy is difficult.

"If a crisis happens at 10:00, we want to have the message out by 10:05. We want people to know immediately what's going on," said Elizabeth Espy, Atlanta Police public affairs director, "They're looking to us for answers, and we have to get the answer. We can't rely on what other people have said. If you don't know whether there's one shooter, two shooters, three shooters, you don't want to put that out."

In 2013, Atlanta Police was officially ranked among the top fifty social media savvy police departments in the country.  They also just came out with a mobile phone app this summer helping people keep an eye on crime in their neighborhood.

Taking Monday's chase through downtown Atlanta, for example, it began before 8 p.m., but police didn't announce there was an officer-involved shooting death until almost 11 p.m.

"What we don't want to do is put wrong information up. So, we have to be very careful, but we try to put information out as quickly and accurately as possible," said Espy.

Atlanta Police are currently consulting with other police departments to find the most effective way to tackle these problems.

Copyright 2015 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.