Alhambra PD launches Weibo account, likely first police department in US to do so

Alhambra Police Chief Mark Yokoyama and Mayor Stephen Sham will present Monday the police department's official Weibo account, a Chinese microblogging site similar to Twitter. The goal is to increase outreach to Chinese immigrants in Alhambra, the San Gabriel Valley, and internationally.

A few other U.S. government agencies have joined Weibo — which currently has more than 500 million users — mainly for tourism purposes. This will likely be the first Weibo initiative to specifically reach Chinese immigrants living in the United States.

“The Alhambra Police Department would like to use Weibo as a means of increasing communication, trust, and engagement with the Chinese population in Alhambra,” Alhambra Police Chief Mark Yokoyama said in a press release. “We feel Weibo is a networking tool that many in the Chinese community are aware of and are comfortable with and we want to tap into that line of communication.”

The police department's Chinese social media outreach is part of a partnership with Alhambra Source to increase engagement with the Chinese community in Alhambra. Yokoyama met with Alhambra Source staff in July after reading a story on the news site about strategies for reaching Chinese immigrants in the area. Since then, the law enforcement agency and Alhambra Source have re-launched their "Ask an Alhambra cop" column to collect questions from residents and business owners and translate the answers into Chinese and Spanish. Alhambra Source and the Alhambra Police Department will also host a community forum in 2014 and publish the results online.

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