Fall River PD: Pokemon Go helping bond cops, community

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Suddenly, everyone seems to be catching the Pokemon fever – again.

You may have heard stories about people hunting down the characters with the new Pokemon Go app. It’s affecting practically everyone – from kids to adults to police officers.

According to Fall River police, the new game is actually helping officers connect with the community – a connection, they say, that is more important now than ever.

When Officer Jonathan Estrella was on patrol on Sunday, he noticed a group of people on their phones. Right away, he said he could tell they were playing the virtual scavenger hunt game.

Estrella decided to join them.

“They were actually impressed that a police officer would know what it is,” Det. Nelson Sousa told Eyewitness News on Monday.

Photographer Michael Dodge captured the moment – which was then shared by Fall River Police and retweeted more than 4,000 times.

“Things like this kind of bridge the gap between the police and the community,” said Nelson. “They were able to talk about a common subject and it broke all barriers between them.”

Nelson handles a majority of the department’s social media posts. He said Estrella didn’t even realize the photos had been snapped.

“I think it is important right now that there is more community police involvement with each other and communication so that way some of the fears and misconceptions can be lessened,” he said.

Police said if you are going outside to play Pokemon Go, make sure to follow these tips:

  • Use common sense.
  • Don’t trespass on private property.
  • Don’t walk out into traffic.
  • Don’t go searching for characters late at night in unlit or unsafe areas.

Pokemon Go: What you need to know »

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