Can ‘Cop Kitty’ and Other Social Media Campaigns Help Build Trust in Police Departments?

The Troy Police Department recently announced it would adopt a cat after their Twitter account exceeded 10k followers.

Jake Neher/WDET

Police departments across the country face questions about their relationships with the communities they serve.

That’s after a string of violent — and sometimes deadly — encounters with citizens in recent years.

Departments are trying to find new and modern ways to connect with residents.

WDET’s Jake Neher and Michigan Public Radio’s Cheyna Roth talk about one local police department’s unconventional strategy.

The Troy Police Department recently announced that if their Twitter account reached 10,000 followers, the department would adopt a cat.

The department has now exceeded that goal, and is in the process of “interviewing” candidates for the job.

Although this is a fun — some might say silly — example of an attempt by police to connect with the communities they serve, it’s also part of a much more serious conversation happening now around the country about “community policing” and how to build trust and understanding between the public and law enforcement and other public institutions.

Learn more about community policing and its implementation in different cities across the United States here

Neher and Roth talk about these issues and the tensions surrounding them.

Click on the audio player above to hear that conversation.


  • Cheyna Roth
    Cheyna has interned with Michigan Radio and freelanced for WKAR public radio in Lansing. She's also done some online freelancing and worked on documentary films.
  • Jake Neher
    Jake Neher is senior producer for Detroit Today and host of MichMash for 101.9 WDET. He previously reported on the Michigan Legislature for the Michigan Public Radio Network.