The Social Media Beat

The Social Media Beat

Thursday, September 18, 2014

LESM at IACP 2014

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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It’s September at IACP Headquarters which means the weather is unpredictable, pumpkin spice lattes abound, and our staff is in conference mode. The countdown is on… just 36 days until IACP 2014 kicks off in Orlando, Florida.  The conference also marks the fourth anniversary of the Center for Social Media’s launch.   As in previous years, there are a number of social media related workshops including sessions in the public information officer track, the chief executive track, and the technology and information sharing track, among other tracks. For those of you able to attend #IACP2014, we have prepared a summary of the LESM workshops taking place. It’s a great lineup covering a wide range of topics with sessions aimed at novices and experienced social media managers. Many of The Social Media Beat bloggers will be attending – and presenting – so be sure to say hello. If you aren’t able to attend our social media conference within a conference, the Nov ...

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Twitter Tips for Law Enforcement Social Media

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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Not all digital media channels are created equal. Each platform appeals to people differently and each looks and feels different. Knowing these nuances can help reach your community in a more effective manner. Today, we’ll focus on Twitter with future posts covering other platforms. What makes Twitter a great messaging tool for law enforcement is its innate ability to inform the public through short bursts of information. Effectively crafted tweets can quickly provide factual information, dispel misinformation or rumor, and provide a historical timeline of your agency’s professional efforts to resolve an in-progress event. By following a few guidelines, you can greatly expand your reach and increase the odds that your tweet will be retweeted. Keep it short Although Twitter gives you 140 characters to craft your tweet, try to aim for a tweet with around 120 characters. Doing so allows gives people space to add commentary and makes it easier to retweet your message. #Hashtags If you h ...

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why Law Enforcement Should Be Using Instagram

By Dionne Waugh

Dionne Waugh

Dionne Waugh is a member of the Richmond Police Department's Public Affairs Unit in Richmond, Virginia. Follow Dionne on Twitter @RichmondPolice.

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Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube may get all the attention when it comes to social media, but the mighty Instagram should also be a contender when it comes to engaging with your community. According to Digital Marketing Ramblings, Instagram’s growth has been huge in the past two years alone, especially since it only launched four years ago: * 75 million daily users * 51 percent of the Class of 2014 high school seniors use Instagram daily * 70 percent of Instagram users log in every day * 66 percent growth in people who use Instagram from 2012 to 2013 We’ve seen a few blogs on here about the platform itself and what you can do, but we’ve recently started posting more images and videos on our Instagram feed and seen some great results. Here’s one of my favorite examples:   An Instagram user tagged us in this great photo of one of our officers having a little fun during a bicycle safety event. I don’t know if the person uses Facebook or Twitter, but since we ...

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Monday, September 08, 2014

Top Five Tips for Social Media Start-Ups

By Leon Robertson

Leon Robertson

Officer Leon Robertson is the Social Media Coordinator for the Hampton Police Division in Virginia.

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I wanted to make a list for my computer illiterate friends out there just getting their social media operation off of the ground. This list is based upon some of the things I have learned along the way. This record is not intended to be a step-by-step guide for Day One, as you will still need to learn how to navigate the websites. After you get your accounts up and running… use these tips to enhance your effectiveness on the web.   Make it Stick Out Always keep your content as unique and “share-worthy” as possible. You ultimately want to reach as many people as possible to make your efforts worth it. Refrain from pasting press releases into the status field. Give a brief summary of the event that gets the attention of the viewer, and link them to the multi-page press release you want to share. Use the Facebook Video Player It’s no secret that Facebook has a complex algorithm to filter the “best” posts to the individual user’s News Feed.  While I ...

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Thursday, September 04, 2014

Three Reasons Social Media is Critical to Your Communications Plan

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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The time for social media to be integrated into your communications plan is today. Any further delay in implementation may have an adverse impact on your department, your community, and your staff. Listed below are three reasons social media should be an integral part of your communications plan. Crisis Communication The next crisis could be in your city. It could happen anywhere, anytime, and for a variety of reasons. Although there is uncertainty about the location of the next crisis, there is certainty that the conversations about the crisis will occur on social media…immediately! Your department’s response on social media can make all the difference. Your agency must have a strong presence in the digital communications realm in order to join in those conversations and be able to separate fact from fiction when appropriate. Every crisis is different. Your level of engagement on social media and the type of engagement will be dictated by the circumstances of the crisis. However, if you ar ...

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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

I Pledge To Do It Right

By Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows is a sergeant with the Toronto Police Service.

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I had originally written two blog posts this week that were focusing on social media, the new world of communication, journalism, and transparency. Then I found this amazing little reason to focus on something positive and get away from the ‘training’ and ‘strategy’ stuff that I have been writing about lately. I pledge to do it right. Thank you to the San Antonio Police Department for coming up with this little piece of awesome in the form of a hashtag, picture, video, and commitment campaign. Why is this so important right now? A lot of the public have seen the ‘militarization’ of the police as a negative aspect. A lot of the public has had their faith in right versus wrong clouded because of actions that have been viewed over and over and over again that blur those lines. There has been so much negative stuff that the positive is getting pushed to the back, unless you’re taking part in the #ALSIceBucketChallenge….now that’s got so ...

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

You Can't Schedule a Crisis - But You Can Always Prepare for One!

By Dave Norris

Dave Norris

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

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It could happen in any of our jurisdictions. No matter how hard we train, how much we prepare, critical incidents will happen, and can end in death or serious injury to one or more of the parties involved. Although every incident has its own dynamics, and we cannot prepare for every angle, we should make ourselves as prepared as possible to deal with such circumstances at the media relations level. Get your finger on the pulse of the community as quickly as possible Immediately after a critical incident, as we scramble to make the scene safe and prepare for a complex investigation, the community around us is also springing into action. Most of their communication is now via social media. Your agency’s media relations specialists should be prepared for this, and should immediately start monitoring for related keywords and photos on social media. Any officer involved critical incident is an “all hands on deck” situation, and my advice – if your agency is not large enough to identify ...

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

We’re All in This Together

By Dionne Waugh

Dionne Waugh

Dionne Waugh is a member of the Richmond Police Department's Public Affairs Unit in Richmond, Virginia. Follow Dionne on Twitter @RichmondPolice.

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It’s a brilliant idea, really. Take any officer in your agency and pose them with an adorable cat or dog from your animal division that’s in need of a home and post the photo on your Facebook page, asking the community to help you get that animal adopted. Cue the positive likes, comments, shares, and animal adoptions! It’s a wonderful idea and I wish it was mine. It’s one of several creative and engaging ideas from the talented crew at the Arlington, Texas, Police Department. I’ve used this space before to write about how helpful it is for law enforcement agencies to learn from one another, and I’d like to take today to share some examples of what a great job the APD is doing. If you’re not following them, now would be a good time to start and here’s why: Lesson One: Everybody loves animals. We all know that. But their idea to pair together animals in need and spotlight their officers on a regular basis is clever! I’ll readily admit that I have ...

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Reaching Out To Community and Business Stakeholders

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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At its core, contemporary policing is about keeping our communities safe by building partnerships with the community, putting criminals behind bars, and creating an environment where all of our stakeholders feel safe to go about their daily business.   Police departments across the nation are doing an incredible job connecting with the community.  Every day my Twitter feed is filled with tweets about officers out in the community doing great work, working with youth, or attending “Coffee with the Cops” type events.  Great relationships are being built with communities and social media is there to tell the story. But, let’s not stop there.  Have you considered the same approach and efforts to your other stakeholders? Think about all of the business, schools, churches, and civic groups in your jurisdiction.  Chances are they’re on social media and talking about events in your community.  Consider special events, concerts, fairs, or athletic games. Odds ...

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Next Stage in the Evolution of Public Information

By Mark Economou

Mark Economou

Mark is the Public Information Officer for the Boca Raton Police Department in Boca Raton, Florida. Follow Mark on Twitter @BocaPolice.

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Campaigns have been around for a long time, but are usually reserved for politics and commercial advertising.  But campaigns can be very effective in law enforcement to get messages out to those you are trying to address. It’s basic advertising, but in law enforcement it seems it takes a while to realize we have a responsibility to educate.  There are plenty of examples of issues where police departments can use a campaign to get the message out.  From back to school safety, car seat safety, not leaving children in hot cars, the list goes on.  But what makes an effective campaign?  It’s not as hard as it seems. Basically the days of putting out a press release telling people not to leave your children in a hot car doesn’t work.  It needs to go beyond that, way beyond.  Now campaigns should include social media, hands on demonstrations, colorful handout fact sheets, and video.  Video is the current trend to get messages out.  Take a look arou ...

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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 social media guru for the Richmond Police Department. As a member of the Department's Public Affairs Unit since September 2008, she created and developed the agency's successful use of social media and continues to try and find new ways to improve the way Richmond Police communicate online. She has spoken about law enforcement and social media at more than a dozen conferences across the country in addition to the past four IACP annual conferences. Waugh is a former newspaper reporter who wrote about crime, police, and the court system for six 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 @RichmondPolice.

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.

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 is a Sergeant with the Toronto Police - Traffic Services Unit. His primary role is the supervisor for strategic communications and media relations related to traffic issues within the geographical boundaries of Toronto. Tim was appointed to the Traffic Services Communications Office in 2008 with the mandate to raise the profile of traffic issues within the mindset of the general public. In an effort to enhance traffic safety and to control the timing and full scope of messaging, he has developed a targeted information stream using social media to expand the Toronto Police Service span of influence within the Toronto community and beyond with the goal of reducing collisions, injury, and death in Toronto. Using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Blogs, Tim has pushed information about traffic safety to the citizens of Toronto and has opened the lines of communication to allow for collaborative efforts with community groups, road users, and individuals.

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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