Alberta's new distracted driving law, launched earlier this week, has Calgary police thinking again about its social media strategy.


Calgary police is defining its strategy regarding Twitter and other social media vehicles.

Police said they received some 25 tweets on the first day of the campaign from citizens complaining about distracted drivers and they expect the number of people tweeting police on all crime issues will continue to grow.

This will create a challenge for the force that is slowly adopting its social media strategy, said police spokesman Kevin Brookwell.

"We have to accept the fact that it's a new way of communicating. And that's what we're doing. We're building the foundation for social media," he said.

Brookwell said the department must sort out issues such as how to monitor social media sites and who would follow up on the tips.

But he stresses that Twitter is not an avenue to report crimes or submit evidence. However, the tweet could lead to police contacting citizens and eventually asking them to testify in court.

And social media expert Tom Keenan said it is a reminder to people that they are still accountable when a person tweets or blogs.

"Don't assume that you're anonymous out there when you do this," he said. "You might be tracked down."

Alberta became the last province to enforce a ban on using hand-held cellphones while driving — but the new law is being hailed as one of the toughest because it bans things like grooming and reading while driving.

The law also prohibits drivers from writing, operating a GPS device or viewing a computer or other display screens while on the move.