Ride along with the Regina police officer behind an outspoken Twitter account
Traffic constable known for attention-grabbing posts
One Regina police officer is reaching the general public by skipping the formalities on social media.
It's a platform that works well for Regina Police Service Const. Curtis Warnar, who is the brain behind the traffic unit's Twitter account.
Just got a driver for a cell phone infraction. Our unmarked trucks and suvs are get for seeing phones lighting up vehicles and crotches... <a href="https://twitter.com/reginapolice?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@reginapolice</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/weseeyou?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#weseeyou</a> <a href="https://t.co/xGQA1NBTV8">pic.twitter.com/xGQA1NBTV8</a>—@RPSTrafficUnit
He has publicly outed egregious driving offences and educated people on the rules of the road.
Whether you like it or not, his Twitter account is an honest of account of life as a traffic officer.
"If I have to call a spade a spade, that's something I'm willing to do," Warnar told CBC's Jill Morgan during a recent ride-along.
Excited to have <a href="https://twitter.com/JillMorganCBC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JillMorganCBC</a> out for a ride along this afternoon... Talking social media and traffic safety in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/yqr?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#yqr</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/reginapolice?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@reginapolice</a> <a href="https://t.co/YB0nf0wTMB">pic.twitter.com/YB0nf0wTMB</a>—@RPSTrafficUnit
Warnar said his account has been an excellent way for him to connect with the community.
"More and more as our service and a lot of police services progress into social media, I think it's kind of key to giving everyday people an idea of what we're doing," he said.
Before the officer created his account in 2015, he said the superintendent was looking to expand the police service's social media roster. With traffic being a "hot-button" for the public, Warnar said it was an opportunity to be vocal on something to which people pay attention.
Evan Bray, now chief, detailed to Warnar what was expected editorially.
"He said 'You're my pick. Do you want to do it?'" Warnar said.
Free to tweet
The constable said he was told that he could tweet as he saw fit and wouldn't have to get 10 layers of approval prior to sending anything out.
His personality came through recently when a man was charged with impaired driving while on the way to drop his children off at school. He said it resonated with him as a father of two young children.
Thought I would give everyone a little insight on a Impaired Driver we arrested this morning. <a href="https://twitter.com/reginapolice?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@reginapolice</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/pleasestop?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#pleasestop</a> <a href="https://t.co/HlrSfwVORT">pic.twitter.com/HlrSfwVORT</a>—@RPSTrafficUnit
"It was like the anger of how could you, as a parent, put your kids in harm's way and make that selfish decision to get behind the wheel and drive while grossly intoxicated," he said.
"And then there was that other part where it's just like no, this isn't right and again trying to create awareness of how bad things have gotten in our city."
In general, Warnar said he gets a lot of positive feedback. But of course, like with anything on social media, the posts stir debate and backlash as well.
Oh vey!!! Someone doesn’t follow me on Twitter!!! PLEASE SLOW DOWN... <a href="https://t.co/UP08kQt2EG">pic.twitter.com/UP08kQt2EG</a>—@RPSTrafficUnit
With files from CBC's Jill Morgan