This Friday is 4/20, as in April 20.
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
Also as in 4:20, like marijuana. The police in Lawrence, Kan. have been tweeting some tips.
DREW FENNELLY: (Reading) If it’s 4:45 on 4/20 and you get pulled over and you’ve got orange or red Cheeto dust on your fingertips, that’s what we call evidence.
CHANG: (Laughter) OK. That is a joke, if it is not clear. Officer Drew Fennelly runs the department’s official Twitter account. Here’s one of his other tweets from yesterday.
FENNELLY: (Reading) This post does not condone smoking Mary Jane. But my boss says I have to clarify that, as a police department, we do not condone smoking reefer. Again, driving high is still DUI, and that ain’t no joke.
CHANG: His tweets get thousands of likes.
SHAPIRO: Officer Fennelly began the account in 2015. Back then he had to get approval for almost everything he posted.
FENNELLY: Initially our tweets were bad. So we didn’t have much of a following in the beginning.
SHAPIRO: Then in March of 2016, he tweeted this about the University of Kansas’s loss to Villanova.
CHANG: (Reading) Sorry we can’t investigate Villanova ripping your heart out of your chest. The crime occurred outside our jurisdiction.
FENNELLY: It was the first tweet that we went with humor to try to get better engagement, and it ended up getting a couple thousand likes, over a thousand retweets.
SHAPIRO: We started scrolling through the feed, and before we knew it, our staff was reciting the officer’s tweets from this past Valentine’s Day.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: (Reading) Cops are not poets. So is this poem a haiku – absolutely not. Don’t break the law, criminals.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: (Reading) Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Thou wander’st into a store and pays for thou’s stuff before leaving.
CHANG: Officer Drew Fennelly says he and his colleagues know that people in Lawrence are reading the posts.
FENNELLY: People on the street, when they come up to officers, they want to talk about the Twitter account. And I feel like their familiarity with what we’re putting out on Twitter makes them feel they can go up to an officer and say, hey, just want to say, love your Twitter account. For officers to be able to have that interaction, I think that’s the best thing that we can hope for.
CHANG: He says it’s part of the department’s community policing efforts.
SHAPIRO: Lawrence Police Twitter account now has more than 100,000 followers – by some counts, more than the population of the city itself.