The Social Media Beat

The Social Media Beat

Monday, October 31, 2011

How to Respond When Your Department Posts Something That Offends

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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In my last post, we discussed how to respond when the public posts negative comments on your department’s social media sites. But what happens when the department posts material that is offensive to others? How could this happen? After all, most departments use their social media sites to inform, educate, and communicate. However, while using an abundance of caution, inadvertent posts that offend can still happen. Recently, my department posted information on Twitter about a man dressed as a woman causing property damage and pulling the fire alarm at one of our local hotels before fleeing the scene. This was an unusual case and the post was meant to provide a little humor with the information. There were several good natured posts from a number of followers. However, the post soon backfired.   Apparently, the largest conference in the United States of transgendered individuals was being held at that hotel in Dunwoody. A post quickly noted the conference and made a disparaging remark about our ...

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Getting Traditional Media to Buy into Your Social Media Activities

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 unless you live in a huge city, like New York or Boston, at least one media outlet would be interested in its local police agency starting to use social media. No matter when you start, the use of social media by a police agency is still considered a new way of reaching out and connecting with the community. Your community will think you’re cool! You’re hip! And they’ll want to know all about that! One thing you can do is let them know the same way you let them know about everything else you do: via press release. This is pretty straight forward, but an even better way would be to make them come to you. You can do this by starting to post things on your social media sites, be it on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, that you’re NOT sending out to the traditional media. This forces the media to come to you and your sites to find out what’s going on. This will also generate buzz in your community because your citizens will be talking about and seeing what you’re ...

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Social Media - Doing It Right

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 most popular questions we’ll receive from new users of any social media platform is, “What is the right way to do social media?” The first reaction is always to tell people how not to do it. The things to watch out for. The risks that can be involved. The mistakes that people have made or the things that have caused embarrassment for individuals and organizations. In a world of minimizing risk and fear of new things, these are natural and needed. I prefer to use those as anecdotal support for the direct question of what can go wrong. There is no set formula for doing it right. I have seen organizations and individuals do the exact same thing with different outcomes and results. One reasons is the audience, another, the language and still another the platform of choice for the message. Doing it right will always follow some basic principles. Professional, dedicated, consistent, and focused to name a few. Your social media use does not need to be perfect, but you need to st ...

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Social Media at IACP 2011

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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It’s that time of year. The leaves are starting to change colors, the air is a bit crisper, and the IACP Annual Conference is just around the corner. Will you be going to Chicago? There is going to be a lot going on this year, including several workshops on social media use for law enforcement. For a synopsis and schedule of the social media workshops being held during conference click here. On Monday morning of conference, you can come and meet the bloggers. That’s right, The Social Media Beat bloggers are going to be there, in person. It’s not often that we’re all in the same room together, so it is going to be quite the event. We’re going to be talking about our own posts, each other’s posts, and give the audience a chance to ask questions. You won’t want to miss this. And don’t forget, you can start getting social now! Tweet using the hashtag #IACP2011 and be sure to follow @IACPOfficial for updates. If you’re on Facebook, check out the IACP ...

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Building a Base for Emergency Communication

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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In Chief Grogan’s blog post of Sept. 14th, “Why Should My Department use Social Media”, the Chief, as usual, makes some excellent points; social media is an opportunity to communicate directly to citizens, crime information released to the public is a force multiplier particularly in lean times, and increased communication and interaction with citizens increases public confidence and trust in our agencies. I read the Chief’s blog the same day I read a blog by Gerald Baron of Emergency Management magazine (link below). Mr. Baron points out what is the next step beyond Chief Grogan’s comments; that communicating critical information from emergency responders (like us) to citizens during a disaster is becoming increasingly dependant on social media. But how do we build the base of citizen contacts so that’s it listening to our messages during a crisis? By doing what Chief Grogan suggests every day. Mr. Baron’s blog post cites a poll commissioned by the National Hu ...

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Friday, October 07, 2011

Is It Really News?

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’ve heard the question asked many times, “Why post/publish this story, it’s not news.” There are many answers to this comment. We now have the ability to not only let our residents know what is going on and what we are doing, but also to paint our agency in a positive light. An officer receiving an award, a good deed, or even small crimes that we know the media would never do a story on. How many times do we hear, “What was going on over there, I saw a lot of police cars?” With our Web site and social media sites we now can keep residents abreast of everything going on. Here are some examples. Recently a suspect walked up to a woman in a supermarket parking lot and asked her if he could borrow her cell phone to make a phone call. The woman handed the teen her iPhone. The teen immediately ran off, stealing the phone. Our officers and Tac Team quickly ascended on the area and searched nearby parks. Within a few minutes we found the suspect and arrested him. Big deal r ...

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Thursday, October 06, 2011

How Should Your Department Respond to Negative Comments?

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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The question about what to do when negative posts are made on your social media sites is a valid question. Although feared by many law enforcement professionals, negative comments are typically not posted as frequently as expected. However, it is important to have a game plan about how to respond when they are posted. In many cases, the absence or presence of negative comments may be a reflection of the relationship the department has with the community. Content posted by the public on department social media sites which uses profanity, contains racial epitaphs, or disparages a group of people based on the protected classes should be removed immediately and not tolerated. You may want to consider preventing that person from posting in the future. Other posts must be evaluated using the totality of the circumstances and comments before removal or censoring. If a negative comment is posted about the department, about a staff member or about how the department handled an incident, someone should respond im ...

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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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