The Social Media Beat

The Social Media Beat

Monday, February 28, 2011

Law Enforcement Use of Social Media

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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I was hired as the first Chief of Police for the Dunwoody Police Department on December 17, 2008. This was an exceptional opportunity to build a new department for a new city from the ground floor up. In just over three months, the Dunwoody Police Department began operations with 40 sworn officers and eight civilians. We had both a unique opportunity and a challenge; the opportunity to make a first impression and to write our own history and the challenge of how to do it effectively with limited staff. The City of Dunwoody is an affluent area with a history of community involvement. There are 40,000+ residents who are highly educated and use the Internet frequently. Our day time population swells to over 100,000 people as workers and shoppers come to Dunwoody. Accordingly, we sought out and used many of the traditional community policing programs during our first year. We engaged our neighborhood watch, encouraged ride-alongs, started a police explorer post, spoke at neighborhood meetings and had offi ...

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Law Enforcement Working as Journalists; Why We Need Social Media

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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It seems like a complete 180, as law enforcement used to try and avoid the media, we now find ourselves becoming the media. When I started my career in broadcast journalism nearly 20 years ago, the relationship with law enforcement was much different than it is today. Mind you, 20 years ago was only 1990, but the Internet was just starting to catch on. While serving as Executive Editor at WPRI-TV in Providence, RI, we were the first station in the state to get a Web page for news. It was as rudimentary as could be; some simple html code and a place to cut and paste news stories. But still, we had a presence on this thing called the World Wide Web. There were no Google searches and not many Web pages to browse. When we wanted information about a story we were working, local law enforcement didn't have a Web page to click on or social media to communicate through. We had to work for our story, dig, investigate, and contact sources. Many times we had to physically go to the police station to get a police ...

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Content Idea - Community Connections

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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Ideally, content on your agency's social network sites comes from something ongoing and timely within your department. But it's not uncommon in agencies large or small, to have a "slow news day". So how do you keep posts on your sites updated and engaging? This is the second in a series of blogs on content ideas. In the first piece, I talked about following other public safety social media and Web sites for content. Today, the idea is to look for content in what's going on around you: Content Idea #2 - Connect to Community Events. It reinforces to citizens that your agency is an active player in your community! For example, recently the City of Boise held a series of meetings on revitalizing a "disinvested" part of downtown. Because the entire city has a vested interest in keeping our neighborhoods vibrant, we posted the meeting info on the BPD Facebook page and re-tweeted info sent out by the mayor's office (which the mayor's office appreciated!). After the holidays, we posted a funny little picture ...

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Friday, February 18, 2011

The Importance of Daily Posting

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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Your citizens want to hear from you. Every day. Yes, every day. They'll probably cut you some slack if you don't post on the weekends since they, like most people, don't log on as often during the weekends. But during the week, they want to know what their police department is doing, what crime is happening, and what they can do to keep themselves safe. That's why you need to find at least one thing to post each day. A few sentences about a good arrest, a safety tip for making yourself less likely to be a robbery victim, a mention about an uptick in shed break-ins. All of these are great ideas for interesting items you can post on your Facebook or Twitter pages. You can also think outside the box and post a photo of your officers in action or a short video shot via cell phone. The important thing is you put information out there daily for your citizens to stay informed. Why? Well, how often do you look at Web sites that aren't updated very often? When citizens know you post often - and I think ...

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Social Recruiting in the Land Down Under

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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This week we'll take a virtual trip to the land down under - to Victoria, Australia - to have a look at some unique uses of social media for recruitment. (To refresh your Aussie geography, the state of Victoria is in the southeast corner of Australia and includes the city of Melbourne.) In 2010, the Victoria Police (VP) launched the largest recruitment drive in the agency's history with a goal of attracting 1,700 new recruits over the next five years. Never mind that the effort was backed with $6 million for advertising; there are several outreach ideas you can steal at no cost: • Follow that recruit! I like recruitment efforts that use real people and situations, and this is a great example. From June to November 2010, police recruit Stephanie Attard, armed with an iPad, used Twitter (@vicpolrecruit) to share her daily experience in the 23-week academy. In the end, she amassed 1,600 followers, sent out more than 3,000 tweets (averaging 20 each day), and generated plenty of local press. • ...

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Why the "Ostrich Defense" Isn't Going to Work

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 recently sat on a panel discussion with some media executives where the topic was the state of the media. Although I am now a civilian in law enforcement handling Public Information, I spent almost two decades in broadcast news, mostly television. The one thing you learn is technology is quickly changing and you have to embrace the change. If not, you might be on the losing end. On this panel was an executive editor of a newspaper. It shocked me when we were asked about the adaptation of social media into everyday life and this editor responded that he thought social media would die down and people would go back to reading the "paper" version of the newspaper. Really? Has he not noticed how easy it is to not only read his newspapers, but dozens of others online in a matter of minutes? Unfortunately, many in law enforcement have the same thoughts. "Blah! Social media, we're not doing that!" Whether you like it or not, I'm here to tell you, "Get your head out of the sand!" Social media is here to stay. Th ...

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Monday, February 07, 2011

Content Idea - Follow Public Safety Pages/Sites

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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What do I post? During almost every conversation I have with someone from a law enforcement agency who's thinking of, or already working on a Facebook page or Twitter account, I hear that same question. It doesn't matter if the agency is large or small; the question about where to find content that's relevant and interesting to keep our social networking updated is a good one. The answer is, there are lots of resources out there to give you ideas when it's a "slow news day". So for my next few posts, I'll toss out some ideas you can use to keep your agency's social network site updated and useful to your community. Content Idea #1 - Follow or Favorite other Public Safety sites or Web pages, see what they're posting, and link to it, or edit it and post it on your site. For example, NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a couple great Facebook pages: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving and Child Passenger Safety. I just uploaded a link to the Boise PD Facebook page from Buzzed Driv ...

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Thursday, February 03, 2011

What Not To Do

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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One of the great things about social media is that there are very few things not to do, and so many things you can do. You can, and should, try new applications to link your social media sites. You can, and should, use your social media sites to try new things. You can, and should, respond to most comments left on your social media sites. Why do any of these things? New technology helps you better manage, and understand, your social media presence. Trying new things helps you discover what people are interested and what's best for your agency. Responding to comments shows people you're listening to what they have to say and you're educating your community through another outlet. So what shouldn't you do? Don't say you don't know how to do social media. There are too many great and free resources out there, from IACP to your fellow law enforcement agency nearby, from which to learn. Believe me, I know it can be intimidating in the beginning, and even as you go along, but it's worth it. Don't cre ...

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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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