The Social Media Beat

The Social Media Beat

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Engagement Tip: Self-Initiating Conversations with the Public

By Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger

The Social Media Beat periodically features guest bloggers who share their perspective on the topic of social media and law enforcement.

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You may be a proponent of two-way, back-and-forth communication with the public on your agency social media channels, but are you ever self-initiating those conversations out of the blue with users? Many agencies will respond to questions directed at them by users, or to comments left by the public in response to agency posts. While this is a great start, agencies can also take engagement a step further by self-initiating a conversation by randomly replying to a user’s tweet, Facebook post, or Instagram photo. How does this work? There are a few ways that agencies can select posts to which they want to respond. First, they could be following the social media accounts of people who live or work in their community, and spot a post from that person on a topic of mutual concern. Second, the agency could choose to monitor hashtags common to their jurisdiction (for example, #PaloAlto or #MountainView) and selectively respond to any post on a topic of mutual concern. Third, the agency could choose to monitor ...

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Starting the Metro Atlanta Law Enforcement Social Media Group (MALESMG): A Case Study

By Billy Grogan

Billy Grogan

Billy Grogan is the Chief of Police for the Dunwoody Police Department in Georgia. Follow Chief Grogan on Twitter @ChiefGrogan.

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There are many police agencies in the Metro Atlanta area using social media to inform, educate, and connect with their community. Unfortunately, there is little social media training available for law enforcement and few formal opportunities to interact with other law enforcement professionals. The police agencies in this area recognized this deficiency and had the desire to bring the local law enforcement professionals together for this purpose. Fortunately, the IACP Center for Social Media has published a number of blog posts about how to create a law enforcement social media group, which has been very helpful in the efforts to create the Metro Atlanta Law Enforcement Social Media Group (MALESMG). One of the first blog posts discussed the creation of the Bay Area Law Enforcement Social Media Group (BALESMG) in 2013. Another post chronicled the start up of the Virginia Area Law Enforcement Social Media Group (VALESMG). Still another blog post described how a law enforcement social media group worked. Last y ...

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Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Facebook's Reaction Buttons: All You Need to Know

By Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger

The Social Media Beat periodically features guest bloggers who share their perspective on the topic of social media and law enforcement.

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A couple weeks ago, Facebook launched their much anticipated revamp of the “like” function. From now on, instead of just “liking” a post, users can hover over the “like” button and choose between 6 different “reactions”: Like, Love, Hahah (pretty self-explanatory,) Wow, Sad & Angry. What does this mean for you? If your agency is using Facebook, it can help you gain some new insights and better engage your audience. Here’s what you need to know: • Note that there is no “Dislike” button, much to the dismay of many users. Facebook doesn’t want to encourage negativity, so you don’t have to be concerned about people giving you the “thumbs down.” However, the Sad and Angry button can help your fans express feelings about posts that they feel strongly about but may have negative connotations, like a Line of Duty Death or a crime trend. You may see more traffic and reach on these posts, since in the past people may ...

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Understanding Social Media 101

By Dionne Waugh

Dionne Waugh

Dionne Waugh is the Digital Communications Manager for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office in Colorado. Follow Dionne on Twitter @JeffCoSheriffCo.

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Many of the blogs you read on here go into great detail about social media strategy, how a new platform works, and tips for how you can be the most successful at using different platforms. But something critical that’s often overlooked is a basic understanding of how and why social media even matters to many employees. For those that don’t work in Public Affairs, Investigations, or aren’t under say 30 years of age, social media is not something that’s native to their daily lives. And yet they know it’s important to their agency, their kids, and the world as a whole today and they WANT to understand it. They just don’t know how to go about doing that. That’s what inspired me to start holding monthly classes at the sheriff’s office where any employee could come and ask any question they had about social media. Want to know what Twitter is and how it works? How about how to make sure your Facebook settings are set appropriately? In this class, you could ask any ...

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Using Social Media to Reach Your Community and Beyond

By Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger

The Social Media Beat periodically features guest bloggers who share their perspective on the topic of social media and law enforcement.

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In the past 10 years, the use of social media and the number of social media platforms has skyrocketed and everyone from the greatest generation to millennials is using some form of social media. Right now this is one of greatest resources to not only share information with our community but it’s also a great way for agencies to gain insight into their community and grab ideas from other departments.  How far can a single social media post reach and what impact can that one post have on another community? Well, we recently learned that very thing! We received a Facebook message from someone with a picture of an Internet Purchase Exchange Location sign and said they thought it would be a good idea. I researched the program and found that it was simple. Provide a location for people to exchange items they purchased off sites such as Craigslist or Facebook so they didn’t have to provide their home address to a stranger. We thought: we can do that! We purchased two signs, used two pre-exi ...

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Tuesday, March 01, 2016

The Law and Order Effect - These are YOUR Stories

By Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger

The Social Media Beat periodically features guest bloggers who share their perspective on the topic of social media and law enforcement.

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Most police professionals chuckle at the thought of police TV shows. Meticulous detective work, a high speed chase, and a passionate trial all taking place over the course of an hour? We like to remind people that real life involves a lot less drama and a lot more paperwork. However, many people (and yours truly among them) absolutely love police shows. We realize they may not be depicting reality too accurately, yet we watch them anyway because to the average person, police work is about as interesting as it gets. This is great news for any police department on social media. If your content is packaged correctly, even the most routine task or encounter can interest your followers. In fact, even on the slowest day, every police department or precinct is filled with faces and stories that would fascinate most users, if you just look in the right places. First and foremost, remember that not every tweet has to be breaking news – in fact, some of my favorite ones are not at all out of the ordinary. ...

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Snapchat Strategies for Law Enforcement

By Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger

The Social Media Beat periodically features guest bloggers who share their perspective on the topic of social media and law enforcement.

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When you think of Snapchat, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Such a temporary, consequence-free environment seems like the ideal place for sexting, right? Despite its initial eyebrow-raising reputation, this wildly popular social app actually does have redeeming qualities that can benefit law enforcement. We recently integrated Snapchat into our repertoire at Fort Collins Police Services. Here’s a look at our experience so far and how we’re hoping to connect with our community on this growing platform. What is Snapchat? Not exactly sure how Snapchat works? Don’t feel bad. The app, launched in 2011, is a mystery to most people over 30 who don’t have teenagers. With a mobile-only interface and unintuitive features, it’s a big departure from the web-based social media we know and love. Let’s start with the basics. Snapchat is a photo and video messaging smartphone app that allows users to send pictures or videos (“snaps”) to friends. Once a reci ...

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Negative Comments About Police Department on Twitter. What Can You Do About It?

By Billy Grogan

Billy Grogan

Billy Grogan is the Chief of Police for the Dunwoody Police Department in Georgia. Follow Chief Grogan on Twitter @ChiefGrogan.

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A lot has been written lately about how to moderate comments on Facebook and how important it is to have a well written Terms of Use for your Facebook page. Unfortunately, very little has been written about how to handle negative comments about your department on Twitter.  Twitter is obviously much different than Facebook. The main difference related to comments is comments are not posted on your page where you have control over them and have the ability to hide or delete them. Instead, when someone mentions your department on Twitter, you can see the comments but have no control over them.  How can you manage these negative comments if you have no control? Twitter has both a Terms of Service and Twitter Rules, which carefully defines acceptable content on Twitter. Twitter has a number of areas that may be applicable to comments posted on Twitter about your department. Violent threats, either direct or indirect, are a violation of the Terms of Use of Twitter. In addition, harassment is a viola ...

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Monday, February 08, 2016

10,000 Characters for a Tweet?

By Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger

The Social Media Beat periodically features guest bloggers who share their perspective on the topic of social media and law enforcement.

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In January 2016, many tech media outlets began reporting that Twitter would be increasing their character limit for tweets from 140 characters to 10,000 characters (see this article from Re/code). While an official announcement from Twitter has yet to be made, the potential change is something about which law enforcement agencies should be giving some thought now. The 140-character limit has been Twitter’s unique hallmark since its inception; Twitter purists curse the very thought of a change, predicting that the conversion will be a failed attempt to make the platform “more Facebook-like” and that it will result in the loss of the short, live-update feel beloved by so many. All may not be lost for the Twitter traditionalists, however. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, a source with knowledge of the potential change has said that Twitter plans to retain the same “look and feel” of the timeline. Tweets that exceed 140 characters would require the user to click to expand to ...

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Social Leader...Good or Bad?

By Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows is a recently retired sergeant with 25 years of law enforcement experience.

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The leader of an agency be it the chief or the sheriff is in any other organization called a CEO. The Chief Executive Officer. The person in charge. The boss. The busiest person in the organization. It’s at the top where all the decisions that impact the entire organization are made. It is often where an organization is judged publicly. It is the position that no matter what, when bad things happen the boss is the person that wears it and in great organizations, that boss praises his or her people for the great work that is done, never seeking their own credit, glory, or acknowledgement. With the realities of today’s law enforcement executive, the challenges they face and the responsibility of their position, should we also expect them to be using social media platforms and engaging with the public in the digital space? How much serious work can be happening at the pinnacle of an organization if the person on the summit has time to tweet, post, like, and comment? Surely there are more pressing ...

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About This Blog

So you have found, or perhaps stumbled upon, The Social Media Beat, the blog for the IACP Center for Social Media Web site. The Social Media Beat is about three things: social media, law enforcement, and perspective. Here you will find a fresh outlook on the issues that are affecting law enforcement agencies and their personnel when it comes to social media.

Social media is taking the world by storm. Social networks, blogs, photo and video sharing sites, and virtual communities are changing the way people live, work, and play. These tools present unique opportunities as well as challenges to the law enforcement community.  The Social Media Beat brings together a team of bloggers who will speak directly to you about hot topics and current issues.

Bloggers include IACP staff and practitioners in the field who can provide a unique front-line perspective. Our team cares about social media and wants to ensure that law enforcement across the country are knowledgeable and well-equipped to incorporate this technology.

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About the Authors

Dionne Waugh

Dionne Waugh is the Digital Communications Manager for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, which is the largest, full-service sheriff’s office in the state of Colorado. Prior to that, she spent more than six years creating and leading the Richmond, Virginia, Police Department’s social media efforts, which led to international acclaim and recognition.

She has spoken about law enforcement and social media at more than a dozen conferences across the country in addition to four IACP annual conferences. Waugh is a former newspaper reporter who wrote about crime, police, and the court system for several years. That experience and an ingrained curiosity for what makes people tick has fueled her desire to improve communication between people. Follow Dionne on Twitter @JeffCoSheriffCo.

IACP Center for Social Media

IACP's Center for Social Media serves as a clearinghouse of information and no-cost resources to help law enforcement personnel to develop or enhance their agency's use of social media and integrate Web 2.0 tools into agency operations. The Center is funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

Leon Robertson

Officer Leon Robertson is the Social Media Coordinator for the Hampton Police Division. Robertson has developed internationally recognized public safety messages, including the Jingle Bells “Holiday Safety Remix” in December 2013. He has extensive experience in graphic design, video & audio production, and managing various social media platforms. You can follow Officer Robertson’s efforts with the Hampton Police Division on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Tracy Phillips

Tracy is a Senior Project Specialist with the IACP. She is responsible for managing the day-to-day operation of the DiscoverPolicing.org Web site and coordinating the site's social networking plan. In addition, Ms. Phillips provides writing, editorial, and technical assistance on a variety of association projects and activities, including police management studies, job analyses, executives searches, federal grants, and various research projects and proposals. She has more than 10 years of experience in state and local government, including work as a management analyst, performance auditor, and crime analyst. Ms. Phillips holds a master's degree in public administration from the University of Georgia and a bachelor's from Clemson University.

Want to hear more from Tracy Phillips? Follow her and the Discover Policing team on TwitterFacebook, and on the Inside Discover Policing blog. You can also network with other police recruitment professionals in the Law Enforcement Recruitment LinkedIn group.

Zach Perron

Lieutenant Zach Perron is the public affairs manager for the Palo Alto (CA) Police Department. Zach was a 2014 visiting fellow at the IACP in the Center for Social Media. He serves on the steering committee for the Bay Area Law Enforcement Social Media Group (BALESMG), and is a member of the US. Department of Homeland Security's Virtual Social Media Working Group (VSMWG). He holds a bachelor's degree in American Studies from Stanford University and is now pursuing a graduate education at the Naval Postgraduate School's Center for Homeland Defense and Security in Monterey, California.  You can follow him on Twitter: @zpPAPD.

Dave Norris

Sergeant Dave Norris is a 21 year veteran of the City of San Mateo Police Department. He has worked in a number of positions including Juvenile Detective, Field Training Officer, Narcotics Detective, and Patrol Supervisor. Dave is currently assigned to Community and Media Relations and oversees day-to-day functions that involve the relationship between the police, the community, and the media. Dave is dedicated to the increase of community engagement through the use of social media. Under his management, San Mateo PD's direct subscribers to community alerts and public safety messaging has grown from several hundred to over 22,000.

Chris Hsiung

Captain Chris Hsiung commands the Field Operations Division at the Mountain View Police Department in California. Through the department Community Action and Information Unit (CAIU), he manages strategy, community engagement, and growth through the police department social media channels. Chris has been serving the Mountain View community for over 19 years and has held a variety of assignments within MVPD. These include detective assignments in Property Crimes, Person Crimes, and High Tech Crimes as well as collateral assignments on SWAT and the Field Evidence Team. He also serves on the planning committee for the Bay Area Law Enforcement Social Media Group (BALESMG). You can follow him on Twitter @chMtnViewPD.

Lynn Hightower

Lynn is the Communications Director and Public Information Officer for the Boise Police Department and has served in that role since October, 2003. Lynn also serves at the PIO for the Boise Fire Department. Lynn authors and manages the social media outreach for Boise Police and often acts as media spokesperson. She advises officers from patrol to command staff on media and public communications skills. Lynn joined the Boise Police Department after 17 years as a television reporter, producer, anchor, and news director. Lynn regularly instructs new officers at the Boise Police Academy and has given media and public communications presentations to dozens of federal, state, and local emergency responder agencies. Follow Lynn and Boise Police on Twitter @BoisePD.

Billy Grogan

Billy Grogan is the Chief of Police for the Dunwoody Police Department in Georgia. Chief Grogan was hired on December 17, 2008, after serving 28 years with the Marietta, Georgia, Police Department, to start a brand new department. On April 1, 2009, the Dunwoody Police Department began operations with 40 sworn officers and eight civilians providing police services to the 47,000+ residents of the City of Dunwoody. Chief Grogan embraced the use of social media from day one of operations. The Dunwoody Police Department began using Twitter the first day and has added Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Vine to their arsenal since then as effective tools to market their department and engage their community. Chief Grogan has written about the benefits of law enforcements use of social media, participated in several social media focus groups and lectured at the IACP, Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police Conference, COPS Conference, and many other venues. Follow Chief Grogan on Twitter @ChiefGrogan and the Dunwoody Police Department @DunwoodyPolice.

Mark Economou

Mark Economou is the Public Information Officer for the Boca Raton Police Department in Boca Raton, Florida. His media and public relations background spans nearly 20 years. Spending nearly 15 years in radio and television news, Economou held many positions from assignment editor, reporter, anchor, and executive editor. After that, he served as the Director of Media Relations for Cote & D'Ambrosio, a Public Relations, Marketing and Advertising firm in Wickford, RI. He then served as head of Media Relations for Citizens Bank of Rhode Island, the 9th largest bank in the United States. Follow Mark on Twitter @BocaPolice.

Frank Domizio

Corporal Frank Domizio has been with the Philadelphia Police Department since 1997. He is currently assigned to the FBI’s Regional Computer Forensics Lab as a Forensic Examiner. Previously he was assigned to the Department's Office of Media Relations and Public Affairs where he was the Social and Digital Media Manager. Frank has spoke at several industry conferences and major universities on the topics of social media and content strategy.

Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows was a sworn police officer for 25 years with experience in front line operations, primary response, traffic, detective operations, and supervision. He has training in a broad spectrum of policing responsibilities including IMS, Emergency Management, computer assisted technology investigations, leadership, community policing, and crisis communications. Tim left policing but has remained involved through consulting with law enforcement on the advancement of communications and social media. Tim runs #CopChat on Wednesday nights at 9pm ET, to allow police and community members to connect and break down barriers. To learn more about him you can follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook or click here to contact him http://bit.ly/ContactTimBurrows

Guest Blogger

The Social Media Beat periodically features guest bloggers who share their perspective on the topic of social media and law enforcement. These individuals are law enforcement professionals; sworn and civilian personnel from agencies of all types and sizes throughout the world. If you are interested in guest blogging, please send your request to socialmedia@theiacp.org. All bloggers must be affiliated with a law enforcement agency or educational institution. We cannot accept blog entries from vendors or others working in a for-profit capacity.

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