The Social Media Beat

The Social Media Beat

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Social Media as a Visual Medium

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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A lot of discussions focus on how to engage through social media. We've discussed how to make tweets relevant, how to interact with your constituents, how to tweet in 140 characters and so on. Another way, which is just as important, is to include a visual medium. Videos and pictures add life to a story and help your followers better understand what your agency does. There is a reason that YouTube has exceeded 2 billion views a day. Facebook has also made it easy to post videos and pictures. Dashboards like TweetDeck, and just about every site on the Internet now allows video sharing. Just like everything, it does take resources, but depending on what message you want to deliver you might be able to do it with existing personnel. So what are some ways to engage through pictures and video? It can be from the simple, to the more complicated. Let's start with simple. We post our daily blotter on our Web site and recently started adding mug shots to cases where there was an arrest. People love seeing mug shots ...

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Blogging for Recruitment

By Tracy Phillips

Tracy Phillips

Tracy, an IACP Senior Project Specialist, is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of IACP's recruitment initiative, Discover Policing.

Want to hear more from Tracy Phillips? Follow her and the Discover Policing team on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Inside Discover Policing blog.

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Dionne's post got me thinking about the further benefits of sharing insight about your department, particularly recruitment and training efforts. While such activities are a great way to educate and engage with the community, they can also pay dividends in your hiring efforts. You never know, your next recruit might be reading that blog. Blogs are free to set up. Blogger, LiveJournal, and WordPress are popular providers. Sites are ready-made with customizable templates and color schemes. Minimal techno-savvy is required. For fact sheets and case studies on blogging for law enforcement, check out the IACP Center for Social Media. Following new recruits through a blog is a tactic several departments are using. Lincoln, Nebraska is a good one. Oklahoma City is another. See also the IACP's case study on the Houston Police Department's success blogging for recruitment. Virginia State Police, as Dionne noted, offers another fine example. What's unique about VSP is that they're blogging through Facebook, u ...

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Keeping Your Page Fresh and Your Citizens Engaged

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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So you've finally decided to take the plunge into social media and it' going well. Now what? It's important once you know what you're doing and feel relatively confident, that you think about what's next. What are your goals now that you've started using social media? What new things do you want to try? What do you want to change about what you're currently doing? Think about what you've learned so far. Do certain items draw more positive interest and comments than others? Sure, there are certain items that you'll always want to post online, but what new items can you post to draw people's interest? One thing we at Richmond Police started doing just this past week was to post photos and information about our new recruit class. What are they learning and why is it important? It takes our citizens inside the Department both to meet their soon-to-be officers AND to know more about how we train. It also humanizes the Department since sometimes people forget that officers are people too. This also enco ...

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Friday, January 14, 2011

140 Characters... What Do You Say?

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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I have written for most of my professional career. I even minored in broadcast script writing in college. Every day, for 15 years, I had to take some facts and turn them into a 90 second story for the news that evening. I once told students that broadcast news is like creative writing, you need to take the facts and make them tantalizing (TV term) for the viewer. Well take it from me, writing something in 140 characters or less is a lot harder! In fact, these last two sentences already reached that po (...int, see already ran of characters.) The point is, being able to express yourself or deliver your department's message clearly and forcefully is no small feat. So many times I see police agencies on Twitter posting in police talk or a cut and paste from a log. For the reader, that is unappealing and not conversational. When it comes to Twitter, the message needs to be short, but it needs to also be meaningful. One of the things I try to accomplish in my tweets is not using all 140 characters. Why? ...

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Engage - Someone just might say, "Thank You"

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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A couple things happened this week on the Boise PD social network sites that started the new year off right. The first shows the value of interacting with citizens via social networking; the second illustrates how that interaction can lead to something we don't hear often enough in law enforcement (or anywhere, for that matter!) - thank you. Boise PD has chosen to make the commitment and engage, when possible and appropriate, with the citizens who chose to engage us via social networking. What that means is, as PIO, I have activated my mobile alert settings for Twitter so anytime someone mentions or direct messages @BoisePD, I get a notification on my cell. We also check our Facebook comments regularly and again, when appropriate, respond. Last week, I heard the notification and found a citizen had sent us a question via Twitter asking "@Boisepd what is going on up Gary lane by Riverglen Jr High?? There have been a ton of officers over here". A quick phone call provided the answer and I fired off a repl ...

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Friday, January 07, 2011

How Much Time?

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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I get asked all the time, "How much time will this take?" or "I don't have the resources/manpower to do social media." Depending on what you want to achieve, you might already have the resources available. More than likely you can do it with your existing personnel. But if you are getting into social media you have to stick with it, you cannot create a page and then forget about it. Social media is very much a two way street, in that your followers or friends expect someone on the other end of the keyboard. This is not a bad thing; we are putting a person on the other end. Most people who ask questions or respond via social media don't expect to have someone write back. They have come to believe that their communications to law enforcement fall on deaf ears. It's amazing the positive feedback you get from the community when you start.

Monday, January 03, 2011

2011 Social Media Resolutions

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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A new year has arrived, and with that comes the age-old activity of pledging to change in the upcoming twelve months. Hitting the gym, kicking a bad habit, or clearing out junk are typical tasks at the top of people's lists. But with the social media revolution upon us, we have outlined some social media resolutions for 2011. Whether you are just familiarizing yourself with these tools or are looking for new ways to be innovative, here are some potential resolutions for you. • Explore and Experiment - Whether it is video, QR codes, or something else, venture into the unknown and educate yourself. This doesn't mean to jump on every bandwagon that rolls by your front door. Just make sure you are keeping an eye out for what your agency can do next and making sure you are informed about what social media has to offer. Don't be afraid to try something new. It may not always work, but you also may stumble upon the next great thing. Your community and your agency will thank you. • Engage - ...

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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.

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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