The Social Media Beat

The Social Media Beat

Monday, January 30, 2012

Constant First Impression

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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I came across an article by Chris Brogan where he discusses the idea that it is always someone’s first day. In other words, there is always someone who is coming across your Web site, Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube channel, or other social media presence for the first time. Someone is gaining a first impression of your agency right now. So what kind of first impression are you making? Do people see an engaging social media presence where the community’s opinion is valued and conversations on crime prevention and other meaningful topics are taking place? Or is it a static presence, with few updates and little if any eye catching material such as images and videos? Future recruits, new community members, possible volunteers; they have all viewed your page for the first time at some point. Let people know who you are and what you stand for. Give them an idea of what they can expect from your social media presence. This is your opportunity to tell your story and give people a sense of ...

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Friday, January 27, 2012

If you're hiring, get social. The IACP can help.

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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Some agencies are hiring continuously. Others hire on an as need basis. Regardless of which group your department falls into, when you’re ready to advertise, it makes sense to push those hiring notices out through your department’s social media channels. Now, let’s say your department has not yet jumped on the social media bandwagon, but you want to blast your hiring announcement to the widest possible audience. What to do…? •    Place an ad in the local newspaper? Meh. •    Have a booth at a regional job fair? Alright. •    Post on CareerBuilder or Monster.com? Eh, ok, but that will cost you. •    Advertise with the IACP? Now you’re talking! Let the IACP and its police hiring program, Discover Policing, help. Discover Policing is the IACP’s nationwide law enforcement recruitment and career exploration initiative. Anchored by the award-winning Web site, www.discoverpolicing.org, ...

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Monday, January 23, 2012

I've Been Outed

By Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows is a sergeant with the Toronto Police Service.

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Can you imagine the feeling I had when I opened up my computer while I was on vacation to find out that my secret was now all over my Twitter stream? Oh the horror of it all. I had gone to great lengths to distance myself from who I really was on line. I never mentioned it in my bio. I never talked about it in my feed. I had set up privacy controls, been careful whom I associated with and still, my secret was out there for everyone to see. It all started with a simple tweet. 131 characters of innocence; and my secret was out! “If you tweet a #RIDE location tonight, make sure you also apologize tomorrow to any families who lose a loved one to a drunk driver” That simple tweet made on the evening of December 24th, Christmas Eve, was my downfall.  OK, I’m being a little over dramatic. I made that tweet from my kitchen table while I was wrapping Christmas presents. It was made from my personal twitter account, which does not tie me directly to being a polic ...

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Don't Just Have a Social Media Policy - Train on It!

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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We’ve been talking about the need for a social media policy for police employees for the better part of the past two years. At recent IACP conferences, workshops explaining the reasons and nuances of such a policy have been standing room only. For all the reasons Mark Economou mentioned in his blog December 9th, creating a policy is important not only because some officer’s thoughtless remarks on social media are ending careers, but these blunders (to put some lightly) are painting all employees and agencies with a broad brush that erodes public confidence and support necessary for police agencies to operate safely and effectively. But here’s the catch. Of the agencies creating such policies – both government and private companies for that matter – it appears not many are taking the next step of educating employees on the policy; why it exists, why it contains certain language, and an explanation of why government agencies are indeed allowed to impose restrictions on employees ...

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

No Turning Back...

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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Over the past month or so many of my fellow bloggers have been looking back at the last year and wrote about some of the milestones and changes that took place. Instead of doing the same, I have decided that since we are a couple of weeks into the New Year I will look ahead. What is in store for Law Enforcement and Social Media in 2012? It is easy to sit back and relax. Hey, you have a Twitter and Facebook page, you took the step and now it’s time to put it on cruise control and sit back and watch and listen, right? Unfortunately, the answer is no, it’s not time to sit back, just the opposite, it’s time to push forward with current platforms and trying to figure out what to do next to keep your agency relevant. Here at the Boca Raton Police Services Department we have had a Twitter and Facebook presence for more than three years now. So how can I keep it fresh and relevant? By not slacking, and by listening and talking to those that follow us, engage the audience. It might be simple t ...

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Monday, January 09, 2012

Social Media When It Counts

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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Different agencies have written a lot here at IACP about how to post, what to post and when to post, but I’m sure many law enforcement agencies still wonder, “How’s it really going to help me in a crisis?” Well, let me give you one recent example that just blew me away and made me even more proud of my community. This past Christmas Eve, we unfortunately had a double homicide. During the incident, the murderer escaped in a vehicle with a two-year-old child strapped in the backseat. The Richmond online community lit up social media like a fire with this information. Everyone, and I mean everyone, from local business leaders to people who regularly criticize the department, offered their help. They retweeted information about the child that we put out there and asked all of their own followers to retweet the information. They asked publicly how they could help; checked in with us for updates; and a marketing friend privately messaged me to offer a way to track the flood of such ...

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Friday, January 06, 2012

Understanding Hashtags and Social Media: A Lesson in What Not to Do

By Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger

The Social Media Beat periodically features guest bloggers who share their perspective on the topic of social media and law enforcement.

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Today's guest blogger post comes from Constable Anne Longley, Social Media Officer for the Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Police Department. One morning, when I opened up the @VancouverPD Twitter account, there were a few mentions of people asking whether “public death threats are OK in Vancouver.” Of course I wanted to find out what they were referring to, and soon saw the tweet which had caused the commotion. A Twitter user (who is no longer on Twitter) decided at some point in the night to post “Anyone wanna go set #OccupyVancouver on fire with me?” This could certainly be taken as a serious threat, and it definitely disturbed a number of people following the hashtag #occupyvancouver.   I replied to them that I would have someone look into it, and then sent a direct message to the tweeter of the “death threat.” From her Twitter account profile and picture I gathered that she lived in a Vancouver suburb, was pregnant and was somewhere in her late 20s. ...

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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

2011 A Year in Review

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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As I look back on our department’s use of social media in 2011, I believe we have come a long way. At the beginning of the year, almost all of the information being posted online was being generated by one person. As a result, timely information was not being posted as it should be which somewhat limited follower interaction with the department. We recognized this as a problem and have taken steps in 2011 to correct it. Now, important information is consistently being posted. Our supervisors in Uniform Patrol are posting real time information of interest to our community. This has resulted in an exponential increase in community engagement. Our Community Outreach unit keeps our social media channels updated with our press releases and important crime prevention information and tips. All of these changes have contributed to significant growth in our use of social media, community interaction, and number of followers. In 2011, we tried a number of social media experiments that helped our social ...

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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 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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