By Kim Glovas
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — SEPTA’s Police Chief Thomas Nestel is extremely active on Twitter – and late Sunday night, an interesting exchange on the social media platform between a SEPTA rider and Nestel led to a suspected drug user being taken off a train in a matter of minutes.READ MORE: PPA Adding Patrols To Monitor Illegally Parked Cars In Bike Lanes Amid Growing Number Of Bicyclists Killed In Philly
“I got a tweet from a rider saying he was watching a person injecting drugs,” Nestel says. “The rider provided some basic information. I was able to radio out to officers who intercepted that particular train and conducted a stop of that individual.”
Nestel then tweeted back, “Thank you. We got him at 34th Street!”
The time elapsed from the rider’s tweet to when SEPTA police made contact with the suspect was only 8 minutes, Nestel says.
Nestel says the next step is to get the offender some help. “When we’re dealing with someone who has an addiction, the goal is to get help for that person,” he says.READ MORE: Dirt Bike Rider Wanted In Hit-And-Run That Left Teenager Dead, Philadelphia Police Say
Chief Nestel says that police get plenty of tips on Twitter, but it’s never played out quite this fast before.
Nope. That was the fastest. Quick reporting and good info. I love when riders help the Transit Police! https://t.co/STgqU90896
— Thomas J. Nestel III (@TNestel3) September 7, 2015
He says Twitter has become part of the arsenal for police.
“In the past two years, it’s really exploded, and really become a useful tool for me in reaching people that I ordinarily, probably, would not have any contact with,” he says. “We’re always looking for input from riders, we’re always looking for help. And if that help comes from a phone call, if that comes in a personal contact with a police officer, if it comes via Twitter, it’s all good.”
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