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MPD launches Ask a Cop series on social media

It’s a question that has been posed a thousand times before. 

Why is that police cruiser running when there is nobody inside of it?

As part of an effort to increase transparency in the way that the Manteca Police does business on behalf of the public, that question was answered on Tuesday afternoon in a public Facebook post as part of an ongoing “Ask A Cop” series designed to educate the public on what police officers do and why they do it. 

While not everything is on the table for discussion, nearly every question the public has for how things are done on a local level can be asked through a private Facebook message and will be addressed online for the public to see. 

It’s all an attempt to put everything in the open, according to department brass. 

“The public sees a lot of what we do on television for either crime drama shows or some reality shows,” said Manteca Police Department Lt. Stephen Schluer. “This gives them an opportunity to ask questions and helps take the mystery out of what we do or why we do what we do. 

“This is an effort in transparency – obviously we aren’t answering specific questions regarding our tactics that could jeopardize officer safety, but mostly anything can be asked.”

In Tuesday’s post, the agency noted that the reason that police leave their cars running while doing things like responding to calls and even eating lunch is so that they’re able to continue to operate the electronics contained within without affecting the life of the battery – things like the mobile data computer, the police radio, the mobile internet modem and hotspot, the in-car camera system, and the electronics control module. 

Without an alternator running to recharge the battery, it would take just over an hour of running that equipment without a recharge to completely drain the battery.

While social media can sometimes be a challenge for the police department, Schluer said that it has also allowed for open lines of communication to the public and that will hopefully be something that can continue with the new approach. 

“The Police Department has put this post on Facebook because over the past couple of weeks, we have entered into some pretty good dialogue,” Schluer said. “This is a way for someone to ask that burning question that they’ve never had the chance to ask. 

“We’re also holding our ‘Coffee With A Cop’ event on Thursday from 10 to 11 a.m. at Starbucks on S. Union Road where the community can join us for a cup of coffee and continue that dialogue as well.”

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.