News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 1030201302
Subject :

“Virtual Sit-Along” in Dispatch on Friday Is Part of Global Police Event
Contact : Zach Perron, Lieutenant, Police Department    650-329-2413
Palo Alto, CA -- The Palo Alto Police Department will be hosting its sixth real-time Twitter event this Friday, this time in the form a "virtual sit-along" in our 24-hour dispatch center.  The event is part of a global law enforcement “Tweet-a-thon” involving more than 120 police agencies in 7 countries.

Starting at 8 a.m. on Friday, November 1, 2013, and running until 5 p.m., a member of our Public Information Officer team will be live-tweeting all police calls for service that come into our 24-hour dispatch center from our official Department Twitter account, @PaloAltoPolice.  Our goal is to cast some light on the very challenging job of a dispatcher, as well as to give the public some insight about the volume and nature of calls our dispatchers receive (and to which our officers respond) on an average weekday.  Followers will be essentially sitting down with our dispatchers and virtually plugging in to our 9-1-1 system and radio console.  

The Global Police Tweet-a-Thon is being organized by LAwS Communications.  Starting at 8 a.m. on November 1, police agencies around the world will tweet using the hashtag “#poltwt” to bring attention to the use of social media by law enforcement.  Agencies will be creating awareness and police work and issues police face, as well as promoting the use of social media in policing.  Agencies can join in for any part of the 24-hour period beginning at 8 a.m.  Here in Palo Alto, we will start our participation then and tweet all calls for the next nine hours as part of our “virtual sit-along.”

"We have participation from agencies in New Zealand, Kenya, and all over Europe, Canada and the United States,” said Lauri Stevens, founder of LAwS Communications and organizer of the Global Police Tweet-a-thon.  "We're calling attention to the great police work being done globally as well as connecting cops around the world.”

Twitter users can ask us questions during the event by mentioning us, and we will answer them as time allows.  We estimate sending between 150 and 250 tweets during the day. 

Our 24-hour dispatch center is the 9-1-1 answering point for all of Palo Alto and the campus of Stanford University.  Our personnel dispatch for the Palo Alto Police Department, the Palo Alto Fire Department, the Stanford University Department of Public Safety, the Palo Alto Animal Services Division, the City Open Space Preserve park rangers, the City Public Works Department, and the City Utilities Department.  All of the personnel in our 24-hour dispatch center are also certified as “emergency medical dispatchers,” meaning that they are trained to provide first aid instructions on medical emergencies prior to the arrival of paramedics.

Our “virtual sit-along” will focus only on police calls within the City of Palo Alto.  No personal identifying information like names or specific addresses will be released during the event to protect the privacy of those needing police service.

This is the second Global Police Tweet-a-Thon.  The first one occurred on March 22, 2013, and attracted a remarkable worldwide Twitter following.  That event reached over 11 million people worldwide, with over 48,000 tweets being sent in 23 different languages.  Here in Palo Alto, we participated in the event by having Chief Dennis Burns take the public on a “virtual ride-along” in a patrol car.

Several other local police agencies will be participating in Friday’s event in one form or another.  Those agencies include the Mountain View Police Department (@MountainViewPD), the Menlo Park Police Department (@MenloParkPD), the Redwood City Police Department (@RedwoodCityPD), the San Mateo Police Department (@SanMateoPD), and the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office (@SMCSheriff).  Please consider following those agencies, as well as the hashtag “#poltwt” to see what is going on worldwide.

The Palo Alto Police Department launched all of its social media platforms in March 2012.  Since then, our Twitter account has gained more than 5,000 followers and our Facebook page has gained more than 4,900 “likes.”  We also just launched on Nextdoor ( earlier this month.  Links to all of our social media platforms can be found at

Further information about the Global Police Tweet-a-thon can be obtained directly from Lauri Stevens of LAwS Communications at 978-764-9887 or