Please Call 9-1-1 When You See A Car Crash Before Taking Pictures With Your Phone

While there are many Internet-savvy police departments out there, one thing that the world’s cops have not yet learned how to do is receive reports of car crashes and other catastrophes through Facebook posts. That’s why the Iowa State University police are annoyed with the population they serve. When an out-of-control Infiniti landed on top of some other cars, onlookers took their phones out to take pictures, but not to call emergency services.

Posting things to social media is important, of course, because nobody is going to believe you when you say that you saw an SUV nesting on top of some other cars. However, the university police took the opportunity to remind everyone, not just their students, that someone needs to let them know about incidents like this. If you think you won’t be the first to call… well, evidently you won’t be, especially if you’re on a college campus.

Even the police department’s Twitter biography implies that they’ve had students try to report incidents using social media instead of opening the “phone” app on their phones.

“This account is not monitored 24/7,” they say. “Dial 515-294-4428 for non-emergencies. Dial 911 for emergencies.”

I like to put the non-emergency numbers for the police departments of the cities or towns where I live, work, and frequently travel in my phone, just so I can report things like this attempted monster truck stunt quickly.

Remember, they aren’t saying not to take pictures. They’re just saying to call 9-1-1 or the non-emergency number (depending on the situation) first. We’ve discussed this here on the site before: in a less dangerous situation, a reader tweeted at Panera about his subpar sandwich from inside the restaurant rather than speaking to any of the employees about it.

Twitter is a useful customer service tool, but it’s for after the usual channels fail.

People who saw SUV on top of parked cars used phones to snap photos but not to call police [Star-Tribune]