LEAGUE CITY — So what do League City residents have to say about Target’s recent request that customers don’t bring guns into their stores?
Or what are they thinking about the police department’s advice that when they have trouble with their children they take away their cellphones and video games instead of calling 911?
Residents in the county’s largest city have plenty to say. They aren’t necessarily debating at the local coffee shop — they’re commenting on the city and police department’s Facebook pages.
“We see it as another way to engage with our (residents),” Kristi Wyatt, the city’s communications director, said. “It is hard to get people to come to City Hall or to a council meeting, but they will let their opinions be known through social media.”
Within the past few weeks, updates on city meetings and community events that are regular features on social media sites have been joined by daily questions on hot-button topics.
The city’s post, which was also shared on the police department’s Facebook page, asked residents what they thought of Target’s gun stance.
The retailer made national news when it asked customers to refrain from bringing firearms into the stores after open-carry advocates in some states walked in with firearms — in some cases AR-15s — as part of Second Amendment demonstrations. There have been similar demonstrations in public areas in Galveston County, including the seawall in Galveston.
Such a demonstration at a Target store was posted on a blog several months ago and went viral. That prompted Target’s request.
It also prompted the city’s post asking residents what they thought of the policy.
The post drew more than 70 comments and sparked lively debate.
Reagan Pena, public information officer for the police department, also actively uses the department’s Facebook page.
Posts offer advice on crime prevention and seek help in finding criminal suspects.
A recent post offered advice to parents of troubled teens. Officers noted that they were responding to more and more calls that were not criminal matters. In a few cases, parents called to complain they couldn’t get their teen to wake up and go to school.
Pena said Chief Michael Kramm wanted to send a message.
The post noted that officers noticed that in many cases when a teen was misbehaving and the parent called police, the child had a mobile phone or electronic game system.
The police department’s advice?
Instead of calling 911, take the electronic gadgets away.
“Law enforcement responses are limited when there is no law broken in these situations,” Pena said. “There are many laws we can enforce, but ‘house rules’ are not ones in our control. Officers are not able to fix a family dynamic that has existed for years prior to our arrival.”
One type of post you won’t find on the department’s Facebook page: Anything that makes officers appear comical.
A video posted by the Rosenberg Police Department last month of officers lip-syncing a Katy Perry song while on patrol drew thousands of views and garnered national media attention.
Pena said while that proved popular, it’s not the type of thing her department wants to portray.
Wyatt said those who follow the city’s Facebook pages will see more and more interactive posts in hopes of engaging residents.
“We like seeing the responses,” she said. “We often will see something that we can share with a (city) department that may be a good idea or a complaint about a problem that no one was aware was occurring.
“It is another way for us to better communicate with our (residents).”
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