It’s not yet noon on Tuesday morning, and there’s a bullet-riddled Lexus stranded in the middle of Lake Shore Blvd. Two forensics officers in navy police uniforms are circling the black sedan, dusting for fingerprints and writing down notes.
Nearby, Const. Scott Mills, in jeans and scuffed loafers, is getting his kind of police work done — 140 characters at a time. “YouTube video appeal for wit(nesse)s posted shortly re: Lakeshore shooting case,” he tweets.
By the end of the day, while other officers pound concrete, Mills will have undertaken the online equivalent of a wind sprint. On Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, he will reach out to the city’s Internet generation to try and crack a lead in the case, which sent the Lexus’ 19-year-old driver to hospital with — miraculously — just a bloodied ear.
Mills is the Toronto Police Service’s social media officer. As one of the first cops in Canada with that job description, he is considered a “pioneer” in the field, says Lauri Stevens, the founder of LawS Communications, a social media consulting firm for law enforcement that has worked with TPS. “He’s definitely way out ahead of the pack.”