There are some people in West Philly who, when they hear a siren wail, immediately get online and ask message board cohorts if they know what happened. Others, taking into account Philly's status as murder capital of the U.S., don't even hear the sirens anymore—or the gunshots. "Oh, it's just a car backfiring," they say to visiting friends. Or, hoping said friends don't know the Chinese calendar, "It's fireworks for Chinese New Year's."
But one thing both groups have in common: The Fuzz. Since 2006, Philadelphia Police Det. Joe Murray has been posting online as The Fuzz. He started out on Phillyblogs.com posting updates of criminal activity, police response and neighborhood news. When Phillyblogs died (*sniff*), he found other means to communicate with the neighborhood, ultimately arriving (where else?) at Twitter (@thefuzz9143).
Despite the fact that he grew up in the Northeast, lives in Roxborough and once said he wouldn't be particularly inclined to live in the 18th District himself, he's been insistently helpful and responsive to neighbors, fostering a community togetherness—if only around his folk-hero status. His Twitter feed solicited information and gave it, and the result was crime-fighting at its best. He gave cops in Philly a good name.
And neighbors, community groups, message board facilitators, town watchers—everyone loves The Fuzz.
But his Twitter page lies dormant. His last tweet, from January 11th, says, "Per a new directive, all personnel wanting to use social media under their official title must get approval from the commissioner." Until that happens, there will be no more Fuzz-y tweets. Local activists have sent emails to Police Commissioner Ramsey.
As for Murray, he's still available, as always. Only now he's giving out his personal email address to everyone in the neighborhood. Swoon.