TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – You may recognize Kansas Highway Patrol trooper Ben Gardner from your latest speeding ticket … or your Twitter feed. This social media star is using tweets to show people the man behind the badge.
On the highway, Trooper Ben Gardner does his duty like any other highway trooper – but on Twitter “Trooper Ben” works to show the public a softer, more human side of law enforcement.
In just four years on Twitter, “Trooper Ben” as he’s known online, has gathered fans from across the globe.
“I remember in the beginning I was excited when I hit 500 followers. I was excited when I hit 1,000 followers,” Gardner says.
Gardner says by the end of this year he expects to have over 50,000 followers on twitter – pretty good for a guy who admits he was a little late to the party.
“I was watching many other state troopers in other states using it. They were connecting with the people they were serving. They were pushing out safety information at the moment it was taking place. I’ve just seen our agency being behind on that.”
Oh how times have changed. Now trooper Ben is one of many “tweeting troopers” with the Kansas Highway Patrol.
He travels to talk to groups like the downtown Topeka rotary about the power of social media.
During a speech Gardner said, ”In years past before social media we met at the water cooler that’s where we talked about things that were happening in your life with others, but in today’s world it’s connected.”
By tweeting he hopes to humanize law enforcement.
“I’m talking about my family. I’m talking about how I’m going off the clock and getting ready to do dishes. And by doing so what happens is the public sees those tweets and they connect.”
He wants you to know he’s more than a trooper … he’s a person, just like you.
Trooper Ben says he hopes to expand the recognition of the Kansas Highway Patrol to that of a national agency – like the FBI.
He says he hopes people will see his badge and think, “That’s a good agency that wants to make a difference.”