Madison Police chief widening reach via Facebook live

MADISON, Ala. - The Madison Police Department is adding a new tool to its arsenal and it's using Facebook as a form of communication. That includes reaching out to the community on issues of concern.

Madison Police chief David Jernigan said he'll try anything. "What we did with Facebook live the other day, we had never done that before."

Chief Jernigan said a lot of signed on and said hello. He went live for the first time on September 26 and again on Monday to target audiences he normally wouldn't catch through a tweet or the station's website.

"Part of this is being able to establish yourself online and then build on that," he said. The other part is being transparent on mental health, the opioid crisis, use of force and mass shootings. Two years ago the department had one officer specialized in mental health issues. Today -- along with the Huntsville Police Department -- that number is 85.

The chief said, "when you take contemporary issues it shows that you're forward-thinking," which is enough to inform the public via Facebook live. "If it doesn't work we'll try something different."

This is the tool chief Jernigan will work with at the desk or out in the field.  Expect him to sign onto Facebook and go live again. The department encourages viewers to comment and ask questions.

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