The Social Media Beat

The Social Media Beat

Friday, September 30, 2011

Breaking News - Stop It!

By Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows is a sergeant with the Toronto Police Service.

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One of the many benefits that social media has created in everyone’s day-to-day lives is the instantaneous ability to receive and report information. One of the newest trends that I have seen is media agencies using their social media accounts to announce “BREAKING NEWS”. That title shot is then followed up by a brief note about what it is that is now happening in the world around us or right next door. That is the job of the media; to let us know what is happening. Now, in the age of instant information and social media powering the ability to share faster and with a broader audience we see more and more media trying to out-do other media on who can get the information to their social streams faster. One sacrifice with the “get it out now” mentality is detail or accuracy of the detail. For media, this can be fixed pretty easy with a retraction, correction, or no action at all. This is not the case for law enforcement. We are not the media! We feed the media our infor ...

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Tweeting During a Hurricane

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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Last month, my colleague Mark Economou blogged about the importance of being prepared to respond via social media during a crisis. Not only do we need to be prepared, we need to actually do it because the public expects it and they need it. The more informed a community is, the better off everyone is. Let me give you an example. You may have heard of this recent weather event called Hurricane Irene. Well, she did a fair bit of damage up the east coast as she blew through and many agencies used social media to keep citizens informed about everything from her path and the destruction to the recovery efforts, nearly all in real time. And we did our part through the Richmond Police Twitter account. It wasn’t lot of work in my opinion. It was a matter of monitoring the conversation online and retweeting, or sharing, that information online with those who needed to know. A particularly bad patch of rain or wind coming through? We retweeted that fact from our local weather people. When Virginia Dom ...

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Community Connections Via Facebook - Part 2

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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About a month ago, Boise Police “tested the Facebook waters”, so to speak to increase something all effective law enforcement agencies need – intelligence. Specifically, BPD had word that at least one and possibly several hate-bias crimes had occurred and weren’t reported due to a lack of confidence police would follow up. This, understandably was concerning to the department. Working with the police department’s liaison to the Boise area GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender) community, we developed a flyer explaining what a hate-bias crime is and urging citizens to report. Officers took the flyer to local businesses to post, and the flyers were posted inside city buses and other high visibility locations. We posted a link to the flyer on our Web site and on the department Facebook page. Then, we shared the link to the poster on other Facebook pages including the Idaho Humanities Council, the Ada County Human Rights Task Force, and The Community Center, a local facilit ...

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Video: Why You Should Include It Whenever Possible

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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As we continue to peel back the layers of the onion, we continue to find more and more uses for different aspects of social media. Remember, social media is not just posting updates on Twitter and Facebook. It goes a lot deeper, like posting press releases, arrest reports, and daily blotters on social media sites. But another layer of the onion that needs to be peeled back is the visual layer. We have become not only a plugged in society, but a plugged in society that wants to see what we are reading about. Since the time newspapers were invented editors included pictures in stories. Then they started to add color to newspapers, a way of selling more and engaging the reader. Once the Internet was born, newspapers and media sites quickly started posting pictures and stories but soon realized they could add more. They started arming all their still photographers with mini video recorders so they could add video to their stories. So how do we get the word out about the arrests we make and the su ...

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why Should My Department Use 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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This is a question asked by many chiefs across the country. Police chiefs face many challenges today. Crime and what to do about it is a continuing concern. However, in our current economic climate, chiefs also face historical reductions in their budgets and a loss of manpower unheard of in modern times. These reductions have created challenges not easily overcome when deploying limited resources. Keeping these challenges in mind, the decision by a chief to start using social media may be one of the smartest choices today. There are three main reasons for this belief. Using social media in law enforcement is an extension of the natural evolution of community policing. In addition, using social media provides a way to promote the positive accomplishments of the department. Lastly, you have to go where the people are and they are using social media. Most departments today are engaged in some form of community policing. Using social media in law enforcement provides the opportunity to leverage those rela ...

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Why Would I Want to Like You or Be Your Friend?

By Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows is a sergeant with the Toronto Police Service.

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This week I had to go to one of the big box building stores. As I was paying for my purchase the cashier smiled and said, “Make sure you like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.” I said the first thing that came to my mind, “Why?” The look on the girl’s face told me she had never heard that response before. “Uhm, I don’t know. We’re just supposed to say that.” I asked if she liked their page or followed them and she said no, she didn’t have a reason to. I laughed and thanked her for her honesty. The truth is, I already liked them on Facebook. Unlike my cashier, I had very good reasons to. Follow us, like us, subscribe to us, friend us, add us… everywhere we turn nowadays we are bombarded with suggestions and ways to connect with people, organizations and agencies. My question is the same for everyone that suggests it one of those options. Why? Why should I give you my most valuable resource? What’s in it for me? What&rsq ...

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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

How Do You Measure Success?

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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How do you measure success? Honestly, it depends on your agency. Some people will measure it by the number of “fans” or “followers” or “likes” their sites receive while others judge it by the amount of interaction they have with citizens. Some measure it by the amount of media or community attention the sites receive or even just by how many items the agency itself posts to social media sites. I think a fair measure of success is good interaction between you and your community because that’s really the goal of using social media isn’t it? You want to inform your citizens and improve communication with your community. When we first starting using social media at Richmond Police, we got an occasional “like” on Facebook and an even rarer tweet from someone on Twitter. Now, we get an average 20 “likes” and at least one or two comments daily on each Facebook item. We also get more tweets, such as questions or mentions, daily. I thin ...

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Friday, September 02, 2011

Mobile Recruitment for Police - Part 2

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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We recently blogged about mobile recruitment for police. Googling “police mobile app” will likely get you to an application for the Mobile (AL) Police Department. Truth is, using mobile technologies specifically for recruitment is not that widespread in law enforcement, but a few agencies are doing some extraordinary things to connect with the public through their mobile devices. Here are some great examples from just the past few weeks: *The Dunwoody (GA) Police Department uses a third party app called MYPD that community members can download for free to ask questions, submit tips, and view agency news. *The Santa Cruz (CA) Police Department recently launched a cell phone application that includes crime maps, news and alerts, photos and videos of police activity, and a police scanner. *The South Australia Police built their own mobile Web app using open source tools and launched it at the end of last month. Features include YouTube clips, speed camera locations, list of most wante ...

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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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