If you already follow the Aspen Police Department on Facebook, you’ve probably noticed a recent uptick in posts over the past few months. But after liking, sharing, and often LOL-ing from afar, it was yesterday’s post that had us curious to find out who exactly is behind these highly entertaining, yet informative updates. (If you don’t follow them yet, do so ASAP and keep reading).
Only in Aspen, right? (BTW Aspen was white way before it went green thanks to marijuana legalization).
When the APD staff member who managed social media departed in March, Assistant Chief Bill Linn stepped in to fill in the gap. Since then, Linn has proven to be a newfound talent to the force and its 2,278 followers–a number that’s jumped by a few hundred in the past month alone.
“The Aspen Police Department–Protecting the Wild West since 1880,” as Linn signs off every post, is working toward building upon its existing digital presence as a real resource for the community.
While it’s not official, the former journalist seems to have discovered another niche in storytelling. Linn relocated to Aspen in 1992 from Texas, where he owned a newspaper for a number of years and landed at the Aspen Daily News as a reporter for two years before joining the APD in 1994.
“Truth be told, I’m having a lot of fun with it,” says Linn. “These stories kind of write themselves, but it’s great to get to use my creativity to come up with a few laugh lines while also trying to be informative.”
Some of Linn’s creative spins on common high season advisories? A Fourth of July fireworks advisory to leave dogs at home, how to bear-proof a car, and the dangers of taking selfies with wildlife. He also takes liberties with his officers, sharing how they celebrated National Donut Day, asking for help when stores like Louis Vuitton get robbed, and giving a behind-the-scenes account of when getting busted actually makes a difference.
“There’s a PSA element to it, but even though we’re making jokes about a lot of issues we see here, those issues can be very dangerous if not taken seriously,” says Linn. “It’s really about how to engage people too, so that if and when we do have a critical message to get out there, our audience is listening.”
As far as adding “Social Media Manager” to his title too?
“That’s really a question for my boss [Chief of Police Richard Pryor], but I’ll do it as long as they need me to.”
If "We the People" have any say: keep the posts coming, Chief Linn!