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Communication Challenges and Solutions for Anchorage Police Department

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The Anchorage Police Department is the largest police department in Alaska and oversees approximately 255,000 residents. Jennifer Castro, Communications Director, was brought on to help bridge the gap between department and resident communications.

Previously, the department tried to use other communication outlets such as social media, the local news or printed materials as a means to communicate with residents. These traditional methods relied heavily on the public adopting a proactive approach and reaching out to the department for news. The Anchorage Police Department needed a better tool to engage with the community but also maintain a strategic relationship with the local media as well. In the webinar clip, Jennifer shares that the department no longer wanted to be reliant on the news media to get information to residents but needed to be able to reach the public directly.

With the adoption of Nixle, residents of Anchorage who subscribed to receive Nixle messages would get alerts immediately through SMS, email and web message. During emergency situations such as a missing person case, an active shooter, etc., every minute counts. Needless to say, time efficiency is very important to the APD.

By establishing a direct line of communication between the APD and residents, as well as ensuring the accuracy of the information received by the media, trust increased within the community. Residents knew that the information they received was timely and accurate. The Anchorage Police Department was also able to increase community engagement sending out alerts not only pertaining to immediate action events and emergencies, but also detailing community events, scam alerts, and other notices not always related to crimes. To hear the full story from Jennifer, watch the webinar clips below.

Jennifer Castro Defines Communication Problems for Anchorage PD:

Anchorage PD’s Deciding Factors when Choosing a Community Engagement Tool: