More police departments posting positive actions of officers online

Posted at 5:44 PM, Jun 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-23 17:45:21-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - Virginia Beach Police have increased the amount of information they are posting on social media to try and let the public know the positive actions of their officers.

Recently, they sent out a tweet about officers saving the life of a suicidal man, then another tweet about an officer who used an AED to save a mans' life, even after being vomited on.

In another case, the department made an officer available for an interview after his actions went viral on social media.  The officer used his own money to pay for gas of a family in need after being called to a trespassing call at a gas station.  A witness spotted the act of kindness and put it online.

Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera told NewsChannel 3 in late May he is making a deliberate effort to let the public know more about what his officers are doing.

He said it's a way to inform the public while also boosting the morale of the department.

"A video of police officers wrestling someone to the ground will go viral in a minute. A police officer saving someone's life very rarely goes viral why? Because I guess that is what they are suppose to do. Right? They are suppose to get up every morning, wear a bullet proof vest, put a loaded gun in a holster and go to work and do things for people they never met, they have no connection to and will never see again and that's a hell of a responsibility to have, so I am going to start getting that information out," said Cervera.

Virginia Beach PD aren't the only ones.

Portsmouth Police admit they too have increased their use of social media in an effort to get the positive stories out and working to make their officers more comfortable doing interviews. They said they want the public to be aware of both the positive news along with crime.

Newport News tells NewsChannel 3 just this month they hired a media coordinator that will help the department with their Facebook and Twitter page. They said they have always encouraged their officers to report positive actions and said for years they have been working to make their stories public.

Norfolk Police even posted a reenactment, months after an incident, showing how officers helped save a premature infant born in a bathroom.

Norfolk Police sent us a statement which in part read: "As always, Officers of the Norfolk Police Department will continue efforts to build community partnerships, and provide innovative ways to deliver police services. We hope to highlight these efforts by providing more reenactment videos of our first responders going above and beyond.".

"I want the media to know when the officers do a great job," said Cervera.

Every department NewsChannel 3 spoke with Tuesday said they don't have a written policy on releasing positive stories.

They all say for years they've put out press releases about positive events and programs run through the police department and sometimes those stories don't get covered but some admit they're trying new ways specifically on social media to get the word out about what their officers are doing.


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