The Social Media Beat

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The Social Media Beat

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Let's Talk Platforms

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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Effectively communicating with the communities we serve is the foundation to successful policing. Social media, which will never replace our day to day interactions with the public, has now become an integral tool in building trust and passing on timely information to the public and media. Yet, not all social media platforms are the same and it would be a mistake for us to consider them so. Each has unique advantages and disadvantages. Knowing the differences will maximize your time and limited resources in reaching your community and increase the effectiveness of your messaging. Facebook As popular as Facebook is for us to keep in touch with friends and relatives, it has some significant challenges as an effective communication platform for police departments. If Facebook is your department’s only social media communication tool, you need to understand the factors at play which prevent your followers from seeing your posts. This is because your department Facebook “Page” has to comp ...

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Creating Content Through Current Events

By Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows

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

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One of the questions I’m asked most by law enforcement is, “What should we be posting about on social media?” It’s a very valid question to which there are so many different answers, which can be dependant on many factors. What are your agencies goals with using social media? Some questions to be answered first are:    * Have you identified the audience you are trying to reach? (Please don’t say everyone.)    * Which platforms are you using?    * How are you using them?    * Are you broadcast only or conversational? Once you’ve identified those answers, we can have a better conversation about what to post. No one can tell you what to post because communities are different, the voices and tone we use and that are acceptable are different and the goals of each agency will differ somewhat. Content falls into five basic categories.    1. Content that educates your community    2. Content that engages your comm ...

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Applying the President’s Task Force Report through Social Media

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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Guest Blogger: Deputy Chief Andy Johnson, Hanover Park, Illinois, Police Department In December of 2014, President Obama commissioned the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which was tasked with identifying best practices in policing and providing recommendations on delivering effective crime control while at the same time protecting public trust in law enforcement. This Task Force was assembled on the heels of several high profile incidents which resulted in protests, demonstrations, and the initiation of a national debate on the relationship between police departments and the communities they serve. The Task Force released its comprehensive final report in May of 2015, which identified six "pillars" of central focus areas: Building Trust and Legitimacy, Policy and Oversight, Technology and Social Media, Community Policing and Crime Reduction, Officer Training and Education, and Officer Safety and Wellness. The report offered numerous recommendations within each pillar. A revi ...

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Thursday, May 05, 2016

Navigating Through Facebook Page Changes

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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Facebook is at it again. They recently changed the way “Pages” are viewed and how you interact with them. In this blog post I will try to break down some of the changes, how they will affect you, and how you can work around it. Facebook has continued to push for “pay to post”, meaning if you want your story to be seen they want you to pay to boost it. There are some things you can do to still get people to see your posts but first let’s talk about the actual visual changes to your page. Before the changes, when you switched from the user page to your “Business” page, you also had a home page for that account. Meaning if I clicked “Home” when on the Boca Raton Police page, I got the pages we follow here at Boca Police. That is not the case anymore and these changes risk you posting to your page from your main account. Take a look at the image below; notice no matter what page you are on, it still says you are on your login homepage. Next ...

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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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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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