The Social Media Beat

The Social Media Beat

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Knowledge is Power

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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Knowledge is power. For the police agency AND the citizen. It's all about what you know, when you know it, and who it's from. At least that's the way it is when it comes to law enforcement using social media. First, you're empowering your community, from the single citizen to the business owner to the civic association. This means you're giving each citizen the important information they need to better plan their day and know what's going on around them, both in their neighborhood and their city or county as a whole. From a wanted person to a big event that closes streets, you're "entrusting" them with information that both better informs them and helps you as a police agency. Everyone benefits from a better-informed society. Citizens are happy to know what's going on (even when there's a delay so an investigation is not compromised) and police have more eyes and ears in places they could never be otherwise. This leads to the second reason knowledge is power. Police agencies, no matter how big or sm ...

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Social Media as a Crisis Communications Tool

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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Fortunately, here in Boca Raton, we have not had the need to use social media during a crisis. That's not saying when a crisis does occur we won't use it. But, how it will be used will depend on the nature and severity of the crisis. Social media has proven itself as a "real time" communications tool around the world during crises. From earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, to the uprising in Egypt, social media has given the public, the media, and even first responders, real time information about the situation. In September in Silver Spring, Maryland, a gunman took hostages at the Discovery Channel headquarters. Within minutes of the situation, cable news outlets were broadcasting tweets from others in the building and nearby along with YouTube video of the gunman before police even put a name or face to the man responsible. In situations like this, law enforcement's first priority is the safety of those in the building and surrounding areas, not responding to tweets. But the debate that comes to the forefront ...

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Retweeting: A Force Multiplier

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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Over the last two years, the use of Twitter has grown exponentially among law enforcement agencies. In most cases, agencies are using Twitter to report on arrests, advertise new programs, and issue community alerts. However, if your agency is not retweeting information, then you are not taking advantage of all that Twitter has to offer by leveraging the work of others. Basically, retweeting is forwarding a tweet with information created by someone else to your followers. In law enforcement circles, this is a force multiplier. There are several ways to find information to retweet to your followers.One easy way is to follow those who produce content of interest to your agency or your community. Another way would be to save certain keyword searches in Twitter related to your community which may produce relevant content. Of course, simply reading local blogs, newspapers, and surfing the web may help you locate good content as well. Of course the key to successful retweeting is finding and forwarding content ...

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Different Approaches to Social Media

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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I think one of the biggest deterrents for some law enforcement agencies to use social media is the idea that there's only one right way to do it. That's simply not true. When Richmond Police first started using social media, we started with what we thought was best for our community. We've since adapted given how our community has responded; what we think is best; and what we've learned from other agencies. By seeing the different ways other agencies use social media, we've gained new ideas for things to post, such as weekly blogging about our recruit class (thanks Virginia State Police!); we've seen fun ways of using social media, such as Houston Police's weekly, Beat the Caption contest; and several other successful ways to use social media that are different than what we do. For example, our local fire department is not yet on Facebook and just uses Twitter right now. And the only things they tweet are the basics of major events as they unfold. They don't really engage in conversations or respond ...

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Monday, March 14, 2011

The Federal Version of Social Media

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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Here at the IACP Center for Social Media, we believe all agencies are created equal and we can learn something from all different organizations no matter the size or where they are from. Today, we are going to take a look at what agencies and personnel on the federal level are doing with social media. Social Media When You Need it Most - FEMA You can find Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), tweeting away via @CraigatFEMA. There is also a Twitter feed for the agency as well as every FEMA region. FEMA personnel use these Twitter accounts to disseminate messages before, during, and after emergency situations. And, they don't stop there. FEMA also uses Facebook, a blog, and a mobile Web site, to make sure people are prepared, equipped, and informed. FEMA also uses social media tools to stay in touch with what is happening in an area. By monitoring sites such as Facebook and Twitter, FEMA personnel are able to know what assistance is needed and where to target ...

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Amber Alerts Get Social

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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We have heard the debate. Can social media be used in a time of crisis by officials to deliver and obtain pertinent information? Could Twitter and Facebook be used like an Emergency Broadcast system? The simple answer to those questions is yes. We are seeing more first responders turning to social media and now the Amber Alert system has joined forces with Facebook to deliver bulletins about child abductions. The program is a joint effort between Facebook and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. According to the Amber Alert Facebook pages, the system works like this: each state has its own Facebook Amber Alert page, and users who become a fan will immediately get alerts in their news feed when there is a missing child in their area. Florida's page, for example, is http://www.facebook.com/amberalertFL. But, you will only receive alerts if you "like" your local page. The question might come up, why Facebook for Amber Alerts. This goes back to many of our previous blog posts. Like it or ...

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Monday, March 07, 2011

Content Idea - Single Incident, Larger Safety Message

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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I'm keeping with the theme of my past couple blogs with more ideas to keep your police agency's social networking sites current and relevant... on a day when you have no idea what to post! When you're lacking something local or from your department for the day, here's an idea to share important safety info and let your citizens know you're aware of what's happening around you. Content Idea #3 - Share public safety info connected to a recent news-making incident. It could be an incident or arrest your own officers responded to, an incident in a neighboring community or half-way across the country. If it's making news, you may have relevant safety or public education information that's timely to pass on to citizens in your community. For example, detectives in our agency recently arrested a man for enticing a young teenage girl over the Internet and the arrest made news. We used the incident to re-post information on Internet safety for parents and teens. A bomb unit call out to a pop bottle found f ...

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Friday, March 04, 2011

Creating Content Solely for Social Media

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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In the beginning, there were press releases. Then there was posting your press releases online, and now you're posting them on your social media sites. But at some point you need to start creating content specifically for your social media sites. Sure you can still use your current content, but there are differences between how that's used in the traditional sense and how it's used online. For example, as our recruit class was taught this week, you don't type anything in all capital letters unless you want to yell at people and really get their attention. Writing something in all capital letters is the online equivalent of shouting. We at Richmond Police use it when we tweet about traffic-related incidents. We do it like this: "TRAFFIC ALERT: West Main Street closed at 5th Street for accident." Something else to considering when posting content online is try to keep it short. People, especially younger generations, don't read items online the same way they would read a book or a newspaper. Generally, ...

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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 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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