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Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Office takes witty approach to community outreach

Sheriff takes witty approach to community outreach

News 8 at 10

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)- When you think of the Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Office, what do you think of? The agency is here to serve and protect, but lately the department has been serving a lot of laughs on its social media accounts.

Tippecanoe County Sheriff Bob Goldsmith takes a comical approach to community outreach. While his posts are full of humor, the message is always educational.

“We use Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Follow our pages; if you read the comments, there’s a lot,” Goldsmith said. “I’ve been the one posting 99 percent of the things on our Facebook page.”

Since Goldsmith took over the sheriff’s position at the beginning of the year, the department’s social media presence has been on the rise.

“This was just a way for us, as an agency, to reach the public,” he explained. “Everybody always has a phone in their hand so it’s just a way to pump information out to them quickly.”

While many agencies use social media, Goldsmith’s approach for his department is different.

“I’ve taken a lot of personal experiences, or things that have happened, and put a sarcastic [and] humorous twist on it,” he explained. “And it seems to have made a connection with the community, kind of in ways we never had before.”

Goldsmith said the social media posts are a way to educate the public, and he’s thinking of new lessons all the time.

“I’ve got four things in my head right now of stuff I can post.”

The way the content is delivered depends on the subject. Sometimes the posts are straight-forward and serious. 

“One of the posts I did was about a road rage incident and what people can do, because that happened to us on the way home from family vacation,” he said. “So here’s what I did; Is everything I did right? Probably not. Was there more that I could have done? Probably.“

However, most of the posts are full of wit, and you don’t have to read between the lines to notice. The constant flow of comments, numerous likes and post shares prove the public is loving it so far.

“It seems like you reach more people and things get shared more when there’s a sarcastic, humorous twist to it,” Goldsmith said. “People feel a connection [and] a lot of people can relate.”

But every single post ends with the exact same message.

“Get along, talk nice to each other, don’t take things that aren’t yours and call us if you need us.”

Goldsmith explained that he knows social media isn’t the answer to everything, but it’s a way to connect with the public on a level that departments didn’t have years ago. He said if departments aren’t utilizing social media, they’re selling themselves short.

“To think I’m gonna make everybody happy when I post something is, I’d be a fool, it’s not gonna happen,” he said. “Those posts allow us to show that all of our officers are approachable. It humanizes us.”

As if Sheriff Goldsmith wasn’t human enough, he admitted that his wife proofreads all of his posts before publishing. 

The Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Office wants to remind the public that social media is a great way to interact with local law enforcement. However, it is not the primary medium. 

The department’s social media accounts are not monitored 24/7. 

If you do find yourself in an emergency or need a timely response from police, you should always call dispatch first.

You can follow the Sheriff’s Office on: Facebook,  Twitter and Instagram.