POLICE stations across the Tamworth district are building up their online presence one officer at a time.
A group of officers from the Oxley Local Area Command took to Facebook for some further internet training yesterday.
The sergeants and senior constables got to work learning how to use Facebook as a crime-fighting tool, after the command created its own Facebook page earlier in the year.
Since February, 1246 Facebook users have become fans of the page and have produced almost 600,000 hits.
Based on the current page fan numbers, the Oxley Command page has a potential audience of 246,000.
Statewide, the NSW Police Force Project Eyewatch program has attracted more than 125,000 fans and about 28 million hits.
Project Eyewatch manager, Chief Inspector Josh Maxwell, was in Tamworth yesterday to deliver the training as well as launch a new page aimed at local residents who are hearing-impaired.
Yesterday saw the launch of the Tamworth Deaf Community Eyewatch page, which Chief Inspector Maxwell believes will be an effective way for police to actively engage with the deaf community.
“It’s another world first and we’re pretty excited about it,” he said.
“It’s to reach out to the hearing-impaired community and build a better relationship with them, as well as provide important information in a secure online community about the issues affecting the community.
“It’s about building up that capacity so they can talk to police via the computer whenever they’ve got a few minutes in their schedules to talk.”
Chief Inspector Maxwell said local officers were receptive to the online training.
“We trained a lot of the sergeants from all sectors of the command, with a view for more local police being trained on how to use Facebook and Eyewatch for the future.
“We did a further workshop with the crime management unit of the Oxley LAC in terms of enhancing their capability to build neighbourhood watch groups.”