On Nextdoor I often see posts like “What is going on? Why are there helicopters overhead? Why am I hearing sirens?” and others. This is natural, as we all want to stay in touch with what is happening in our neighborhood and city,
There are several ways you can sort out what is going on and one great source is Twitter. Here in the San Fernando Valley, we have a great resource in @sfvscanner, an account that monitors scanner traffic and seeks to keep people informed of major events in their area.
I follow this account, among others, and even have notifications set up on my phone for each tweet that they post. This might be overkill for most people, though. You can also use it as an on-demand resource whenever something is happening and you want to know more.
That said, scanner traffic is notoriously of-the-moment and can show the confusion of an event in progress. It is important to not take everything mentioned as gospel, but rather as a reason to avoid particular areas where police and fire activity is occurring. They also delay or avoid posting information that is too sensitive at the moment to not compromise police operations. They will then post the information once the event has been completed.
By staying aware of public safety activities in our neighborhoods we can protect ourselves and our neighbors and help improve our civic life.
Additional Twitter accounts I follow include:
- LA Fire Department (@lafd)
- KNX News Radio (@KNX1070)
- Emily Valdez, KNX News Radio (@EmilyValdezKNX)
- Brian Douglas, KNX News Radio (@BrianDouglasKNX)
- CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE)
- ABC Eyewitness News (@ABC7)
So, just what is “civics” anyway?
Civics is defined as: the study or science of the privileges and obligations of citizens.
Civic education is the study of the theoretical, political and practical aspects of citizenship, as well as its rights and duties. It includes the study of civil law and civil code, and the study of government with attention to the role of citizens―as opposed to external factors―in the operation and oversight of government. — League of Women Voters of Delaware.
In order to have the government we want, we need to both understand and engage in civics activities in our local communities. I am dedicated to doing better in 2021. How about you?