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IMPD using Facebook Live to connect officers to community

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Since the ambush on police officers in Dallas a few weeks ago, police departments across the country have been turning to social media.

Many have shared photos of officers serving and interacting with the community.

IMPD is taking that to a new level. The tool Facebook Live, which allows users to broadcast live video, is fairly new to the social media site.

IMPD is employing it to help the community learn more about its officers.

Meet Katie Gourley. She’s a mom, Army reservist and new IMPD officer for the Southeast district.

She had about 25 minutes to share her story live on the IMPD Facebook page Friday. She’s the third officer featured in the department’s new Get to Know Your Officers series.

“It helps to humanize us a little bit more, get to know the officers a little more on a personal level, about their families their likes and dislikes,” Officer James Gillespie said.

Gourley said she was deeply impacted by the Dallas shootings and this week’s shooting of her fellow recruit here in Indianapolis.

“It did hit a little bit closer to home that it was somebody I graduated with, someone I spent that amount of time with in the academy,” she said.

Her Facebook Live video has been seen by thousands of people, and it gave her a unique chance to show her human side.

“We’re people, too, we face the same everyday struggles; I still have to pay my mortgage and my car payment,” she said.

“I love that I get to drive around all day and stop and talk with the community and respond to the calls,” she said in the Facebook video.

Humanizing the officers is the ultimate goal, according to public information officer James Gillespie, who came up with this idea following the Dallas shootings.

“There’s been a narrative across the nation that seems to portray officers as out to get you, and we wanted to put the message out there that this is not the case,” he said.

He hopes the community starts to see the people behind the uniform, to build trust and a positive relationship between officer and citizen.

“[It’s] to show the community that we are more than just a badge,” Gourley said.

Gourley couldn’t believe how many people watched the live video and how many left positive comments.

IMPD will be featuring a different officer every Friday afternoon on their IMPD News Facebook page.