Creative cop using headlines to fight crime; wit leads to more arrests

LANCASTER COUNTY -- A creative cop's headline writing is leading to more arrests in Lancaster County.

Sgt. Michael T. Piacentino, the public information officer for the Manheim Township Police Department, has gotten so good at it, he's being asked to train other departments.

Piacentino uses alliteration -- and a thesaurus -- to craft headlines that capture the eye, and, he hopes, help capture criminals.

The stories are shared on Manheim Township's Crimewatch page and across social media.

"The more wide the spread, the more viewers, the better likelihood we're going to solve something," he says. "I'm telling you, we get tips constantly."

Piacentino said the department has gotten more than 450 tips from readers of the Crimewatch website in the past two years alone.

"We have solved more things using this than we ever have in the past using public relations," he says.

When Piacentino first started, his headlines weren't so creative, he says.

"We were seeing our activity was very flat, and I reached out to the people who run the company and asked, 'What can I do to drive traffic,'" he says. "One of the suggestions was, 'Make your headlines colorful.'"

His colorful wit also changed the public's perception of police.

"People see us as more human, and that we do have some sense of humor, (while) remaining professional," he says.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.