Schaumburg police are continuing their efforts to connect with the community through technology by planning a virtual ride-along with a patrol officer over Twitter Friday.
From 6:45 a.m. until 3:15 p.m., the public can follow Officer Ken Feeley at Schaumburg's official Twitter account, @SchaumburgIL, as he patrols the village.
Though Feeley largely will be going about his regular duties, the department's public information officer, Sgt. John Nebl, will be riding along as the cameraman-narrator.
Feeley patrols Beat 10, centered around Golf Road between Salem and Roselle roads. Nebl said the beat was chosen because it features a good mixture of Schaumburg's businesses, single-family home neighborhoods and multifamily complexes.
As long as a dangerous situation doesn't arise, Nebl plans to maintain a behind-the-scenes role as observer. Privacy rules will prevent him from tweeting the names or faces of those involved in calls unless it's in a purely positive light -- like Feeley greeting business employees on his beat.
Nebl says the exercise to fulfill some of the same purposes as the department's Citizen Police Academy -- to show the daily life of a police officer.
"What most people see about police is what they see in Hollywood movies," Nebl said. "It doesn't always reflect reality."
Nebl said he originally got the idea from a similar activity of the police department in Boynton Beach, Fla. But he's since seen Evanston police do the same with their chief, and Hanover Park police do one on Facebook.
Nebl's already planning a second Twitter event on Friday, March 7, when he'll follow a new recruit at the police academy.
In about a month's time, he plans to do a second ride-along during the afternoon shift that begins when Feeley's shift ends.
All in all, Nebl expects to provide such Twitter coverage about five or six times a year -- looking for teachable moments in the everyday responsibilities of the department.
Last year, Schaumburg police began posting online the time, location and category of all its reported crimes at crimemapping.com.