Reporting Bob Roberts
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EVANSTON, Ill. (WBBM) – If you have ever wondered what an average weekday is like at a 911 call center, you will have the chance to find out this coming Friday, November 4, by Twitter.
From 3 till 11 p.m. Friday, Evanston Police will tweet most of what comes into the suburb’s 911 Dispatch Center — both serious and trivial.
The city of Evanston’s interim division manager for citizen engagement, Erika Storlie, will be one of those tweeting. Storlie said city officials see the tweet-a-thon as an educational tool.
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“People don’t know sometimes how many calls come in to the 911 Center,” she said. “There’s a disconnect.”
Police are hoping that it prompts some people to call the city of Evanston’s 311 non-emergency line instead of dialing 911 for any trivial matter.
She said those who follow the tweets will not see all of the detail a person would hear when listening to a police scanner.
Calls involving domestic violence, child abuse or sex crimes will not be tweeted, and those involving violent crimes won’t include specific addresses, just general locations, to try to minimize the chances that dozens, if not hundreds, of people will be standing just outside the crime scene tape.
On the other hand, you won’t see all of the ten-codes and other jargon police use when communicating. Storlie said the tweets will be written in everyday English.
She said she and a volunteer have spent time preparing for the tweet-a-thon by learning the codes and other language officers use and how best to translate it for the average Twitter follower.
Evanston’s city manager got the idea from Seattle Police, which did a similar tweet-a-thon earlier this year.
Those who don’t have Twitter accounts will have a way to follow along, by going to the city of Evanston’s Web site.