Smile for the camera

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Local police departments promote selfie challenge

 

DeKalb County residents will get to see a different side of local law enforcement officials as Dunwoody Police Department and Decatur Police Department have decided to participate in an online campaign.

 The LESelfiechallenge, or Law Enforcement Selfie Challenge, began May 1 and will run through July 31. The challenge is meant to show officers in a different light while “connecting law enforcement officers with the community they serve,” according to Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan.

 Each day officers post a selfie online with the hashtage #LESelfiechallenge and include a fun fact about themselves.

 “It’s great and I think that is one of the benefits of social media. We wanted to connect with our community,” Grogan said. “Only so many people would show up to our seminars or other events, but with social media we can literally reach thousands of people.”

 The idea for the challenge started when Norcross Police Department began posting selfies of different staff members on their Facebook page and shared an unusual or unknown fact about each person.

City of Decatur School Resource Officer Damico said the only way he can survive the day is with a large cup of coffee. Prior to becoming a police officer, he worked in a psychiatric hospital for 10 years. Photo provided by Decatur Police Department.

City of Decatur School Resource Officer Damico said the only way he can survive the day is with a large cup of coffee. Prior to becoming a police officer, he worked in a psychiatric hospital for 10 years. Photo provided by Decatur Police Department.

 Dunwoody Police Department, a member of the Metro-Atlanta Law Enforcement Social Media Group (MALESMG), decided to spread the challenge to other departments.

 “We’re getting a lot of positive feedback,” Grogan said. “Norcross, Dunwoody, Decatur and Snellville have already participated in the challenge and we hope the number will continue to grow.”

 Because of the challenge, Dunwoody Police can share stories involving personnel such as Police Service Representative V. Ollee.

 “I once took a 911 call providing CPR instruction to a male caller for approximately 10 minutes. When EMS arrived, there was no one but him at the residence,” Ollee wrote as her fun fact on Facebook.

 Jennifer Ross, community information and education officer for the Decatur Police Department, said the challenge is personally fun and allows officers to show a different side of themselves.

Sgt. Hall, left, takes a photo with fellow officer Kersey. Hall said she is deathly afraid of spiders. Photo provided by city of Decatur Police Department.

Sgt. Hall, left, takes a photo with fellow officer Kersey. Hall said she is deathly afraid of spiders. Photo provided by the city of Decatur Police Department.

 Decatur PD joined social media late last year and since that time Ross said she’s noticed a difference in how the community interacts with officers.

 “It doesn’t cost us anything monetarily or it doesn’t cost us much time, but what it does is it allows the community we serve to get a snapshot of our personalities and who we are. We’re not just police officers,” Ross said.

 Ross said the challenge, along with being active on social media, is personally rewarding and one of the “fun” parts of the job.

 “I remember the time when the media was only interested in Decatur when we had a murder and that only happened once every two or three years. That changed with blogs and Facebook,” Ross said. “Honestly, it’s provided me with an element of fun in my job.”

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