WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — The NYPD is saying bienvenido and welcome to uptown Twitter users, as Washington Heights' precinct commander becomes the city's first to run an official, bilingual social media account.
33rd Precinct Deputy Insepctor Fausto Pichardo said he's looking forward to sending tweets about local crime and safety in both English and Spanish — as the first precinct boss to experiment with dual-language social media interactions.
"I'm excited. It's something I've never tried before," said Pichardo, who will be sending his missives from the currently unused NYPD33pct account. "It will allow me to reach a larger portion of the community."
Pichardo, who in 2012 became the 33rd Precinct's first Dominican-American commanding officer, said the decision to tweet in Spanish has been met with positive reaction from residents. "I announced it in Spanish at a communtiy council meeting and people really seemed to be excited."
These social media plans are part of an NYPD push to engage New Yorkers on the Web. The department began a pilot program earlier this year in five precincts, including the 112th and 106th precincts in Queens, the 83rd Precinct in Brooklyn and the 25th Precinct, plus Police Service Area 6 in Manhattan.
As for what content he'll tweet and how often, Pichardo, 37, said he'll switch things up, with more posts on some days than others. "It's going to be a combination of things, messages from the precinct, things I want people to see."
"If there's a train stuck on the tracks and people are waiting at the station, that's going to be something that people are going to want to know about," he added.
Pichardo added that he's not worried about a backlash similar to the response the NYPD got with its #myNYPD experiment in April, saying he hopes most online conversation will be civil.
"If it's not, we'll take the comment, learn from it and move on." he said. "It should be fun."