The Social Media Beat

The Social Media Beat

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Share the Good News

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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Every time the television is turned on, there is another negative story about the police. When you check out the news on your computer or surf your social media channels on your smartphone, the message seems to be the same: police officers are the bad guys. Of course all of us know nothing is further from the truth. There are many great examples of police officers serving their community with honor, integrity and compassion, yet few of these examples make the news. Unfortunately, we can be our own worst enemy when it comes to bringing attention to these outstanding acts of service by our officers. We don’t do a very good job of telling our story.  A couple of years ago, Officer Peck, with the Dunwoody Police Department, responded to a domestic violence call where a young child was present. Officer Peck took the child outside and sat down with him on the driveway to shield him from the investigation of the incident. A supervisor snapped a quick photo of the officer with the child in the driveway. ...

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

#LESM and the News Media: Conducting a Survey to Determine Your Effectiveness

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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Have you ever considered distributing a survey to your local news agencies to ask them their opinion on how you’re using social media? If you’re a social media manager for your agency, you are likely to regularly interact with traditional media outlets on social networks. Perhaps you use social media to distribute news releases, or maybe you answer their questions during breaking news incidents on Twitter. But how do you know if what you are doing is actually meeting their needs? For those of you who know me or have heard me speak, you know that one of my constant refrains is using social media to reach a stage of “social symbiosis” with the traditional news media. Here at the Palo Alto Police Department in California, our relationship with the news media is better than it’s ever been in my 17-year career, and I firmly believe it is as a direct result of how we have used Twitter to share information in a timely, responsive, bidirectional way. But earlier this year, ...

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Do You Do Training on Personal Use of Social Media for Your Employees? Here's Why it Really is a Good Idea

By Lynn Hightower

Lynn Hightower

Lynn is the Communications Director and Public Information Officer for the Boise, Idaho, Police Department. Follow Lynn on Twitter @BoisePD.

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It’s been said by many an expert – our own employees are our best “brand ambassadors”. If people see their work as important, and feel valued and rewarded, they’ll let others know. Personal experience shared word-of-mouth speaks more to building social capital than the highest paid advertisement. And that’s good and bad. A disparaging word about a brand, especially from an “insider” can tarnish and smear that brand almost immediately as comments, fair or unfair are shared and amplified on social media. Unprofessional or unethical statements cost people their jobs in a huge variety of careers. But the loss of public trust has far-reaching consequences for law enforcement. Comments perceived as biased and posted electronically by a member of law enforcement get shared by hundreds and reported on by media. Biased public comments are in sharp contrast to perhaps the most important aspect of policing; fair and equitable treatment for all. When a member of law enf ...

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Tuesday, August 04, 2015

It’s Simply Not Your News to Break: #StayInYourLane

By Chris Hsiung

Chris Hsiung

Captain Chris Hsiung commands the Field Operations Division at the Mountain View Police Department in California. You can follow him on Twitter @chMtnViewPD.

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Recently Northern California law enforcement was rocked by horrific news when the Hayward Police Department suffered the tragic loss of Sgt. Scott Lunger, shot and killed in the line of duty on July 22nd. As we see time and again across the country, news breaks on Twitter and other social media platforms and is then carried by the mainstream media. It was no different for this case. Unfortunately, sometimes we in law enforcement are our own worst enemy. In the case above, it was other law enforcement departments that helped break the news of the officer’s death on Twitter, instead of the primary jurisdiction handling the incident. In the interest of breaking news first, the mainstream media does not hesitate to rely on a tweet from any credible law enforcement social media account to act as their source for verification of information. In the case of Sgt. Lunger’s incident, many of us watched the news break that morning about the officer involved shooting. The official tweet from Haywar ...

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Super-Sizing Your Tweets for High-Impact

By Dave Norris

Dave Norris

Dave Norris is a sergeant with San Mateo, California, Police Department.

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At my agency, we try to send out at least one or two tweets every day. We have found Twitter to be one of our most useful and followed sources of public information. Because our local media follows Twitter for our most up-to-date information, we have found that they also “favorite” and “retweet” some of our most creative, attractive, and informative tweets. Why is this important? We have a nice, robust public following of our @SanMateoPD Twitter account (over 8,500 followers), but it still pales in comparison to our local news following (local ABC and Fox each have over 100,000 followers, and ABC over 90,000). So - any time we can get our local news partners to recognize our tweets, that’s a huge bonus for our agency. For those reasons – and many others – it is to our great benefit to “curate great content” through Twitter to maximize our exposure to the community. Maximizing exposure translates to more members of our community receiving valu ...

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

#CommunitiesLoveLemonadeStandsToo

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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You may have read my colleague Zach Perron’s blog here recently about Palo Alto Police’s #CopsLoveLemonadeStands campaign, and I’m writing to tell you that if you’re not participating, you’re missing out! We jumped on board the campaign at the end of June and it’s been one of the most popular, positive and fun social media campaigns we’ve ever experienced! After learning about the initiative from PAPD, I spoke with my sheriff and command staff and asked if they’d be on board with trying it here in Jefferson County and I got a resounding yes. So, just like PAPD, we started with a Nextdoor post asking people to let us know when and where their kids would be holding a lemonade stand so we could send a deputy by between calls. It immediately blew up with positive comments. People really loved that we were being proactive on something fun and positive in our community as well as educating our youngest members about law enforcement in such a great and interactive ...

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

IACP 2015: A Must for Law Enforcement Social Media Professionals

By IACP Center for Social Media

IACP Center for Social Media

IACP's Center for Social Media is a clearinghouse of information and no-cost resources to help law enforcement use social media.

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Social media continues to be a hot topic in the field of the law enforcement. It is no surprise, then, that it continues to be a major theme at the IACP Annual Conference and Exposition. The IACP 2015 schedule has several workshops with a social media focus, each taking a unique approach and providing vital information and practical resources to attendees. If you deal with social media in your agency, you do not want to miss these sessions. Not only will you hear from some of the best law enforcement social media professionals out there, but you will also get a chance to network and share ideas with your peers from around the world. Social media sessions at IACP 2015 include: • Using Social Media to Strengthen Community Relations • Tips and Tricks to Know if Your Social Media Efforts are Working • Reduce Tension Between Citizens and Police by Taking Your Outreach Efforts Social. Connecting With Challenged Neighborhoods – It’s Crucial for Success • How to Create a L ...

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Officer Safety When the Public Uses Social Media in a Crisis

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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Right at this moment while you are reading this post, a police department somewhere across the country is dealing with a crisis.  These crises vary in length, public awareness, outcome and many other factors.  You may never hear about some and others may be on the news for days, weeks or even months.  They involve murder, rape, assault, kidnapping, barricaded suspects, manhunts and many other crimes and tragedies.  Although they can be very dissimilar, they do have one factor in common.  The public taking photos and videos of the incidents and posting the information to their social media channels can put officers at risk. In 2014, agencies in the Seattle, Washington area asked citizens to Tweet Smart and used the hashtag #TweetSmart.  They asked their community to not post information, photos or video on social media showing the movement, location or tactics being used by police officers during police incidents where the information could possibly put officers at risk.  Th ...

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Think You're Facebook Responsive? Think Again

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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Facebook is always updating its platform with new formats and tweaks, but a recent update a few of us noticed this week was a responsiveness measurement icon. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on the best ways of using Facebook, they come out with a new one to challenge you! And I would definitely call this one a challenge—but a fun one—for law enforcement agencies. So, are you Facebook responsive? You make think you respond to comments, questions and private messages fairly well, but unless you’re responding to 90 percent of your private messages AND with a median response time of five minutes, Facebook doesn’t think so. Their new “Very Responsive to Messages” icon, which you can see in green under the profile picture on the Palo Alto Police Department page, requires your page to have done both of those two things over the past seven days for your page to receive it. I first noticed the update when I saw two new analytics boxes on the bottom right side of o ...

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Monday, June 15, 2015

#CopsLoveLemonadeStands

By IACP Center for Social Media

IACP Center for Social Media

IACP's Center for Social Media is a clearinghouse of information and no-cost resources to help law enforcement use social media.

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With kids out of school for the summer, temperatures rising, and lemonade stands popping up on sidewalks across America, my department recently began a new social media initiative called #CopsLoveLemonadeStands, and we are encouraging any interested police agency to join in! As we saw with the incredible international success of the recent IACP hashtag campaign #WhyIWearTheBadge for National Police Week, a remarkable number of people want to see positive stories about police officers on social media. The #CopsLoveLemonadeStands initiative dovetails with this, and falls nicely into place and in-line with the social media recommendations of President Obama's Task Force on 21st-Century Policing. The idea was the brainchild of two members of our patrol division, Sergeant Ben Becchetti and Officer Dave Pecoraro. They wanted me to put out a social media post asking the community to tell us when their children were going to have lemonade stands, so that a patrol team could stop by for some positive community inter ...

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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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