The Social Media Beat

The Social Media Beat

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Why Do You Use Social Media?

By Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows is a recently retired sergeant with 25 years of law enforcement experience.

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Last week I met with the Public Information Officer (PIO) for a police agency who has been tasked with a new role for his agency. He has now added, "Social Media Manager" to his portfolio. He asked two very important questions. 1.) What can we do with social media? 2.) How do we do social media effectively? Before answering his questions, I had a question of my own. "What is the goal of your agency using social media?" He stared blankly at me for a few seconds before telling me that he had no idea. He has been told to enter the social media space, he has been given a decent budget to work with and has been given the green light make their entry immediately. The only thing he hasn't been provided is a reason to do it. The powers that be for his agency gave him the broad-stroke reasoning that we hear so often. - That's what everyone else is doing - We need to inject our voice - It increases the availability of communication with our citizens Those are all valid and truly great reasons, but ...

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What Content Should Be Posted On Social Media Channels?

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 often by police chiefs, administrators, PIOs, and others who are charged with the task of either posting information or monitoring the content posted. In addition, many have concerns about liability related to the content posted. Although this question seems somewhat difficult, the answer is quite simple if you follow these six rules. 1. Your agency should have a policy or develop written guidelines to address this important issue. It is difficult to cover everything in a policy. However, you should have general statements and sample content so those staff members posting information have a guide. This is an important consideration for your staff as well as the department. 2. Never post any information that is considered confidential or that has evidentiary value. You should steer clear of posting photos of any type that are taken as part of an investigation which will potentially be used as evidence. Examples include crime scene photos, fatality accident investigations, and s ...

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Ustream: Bringing Video to Your Citizens

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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There are so many ways to communicate right now via social media that it is mind boggling. One site that has been around for a while could prove to be a useful tool for law enforcement. It’s called www.ustream.tv. This is a site that allows you to broadcast video over the internet for free and you can do it right from your smart phone. The free version has small banner ads. If you prefer not to have them then you can pay a monthly fee to have a clean screen. How is this useful to law enforcement? It allows you to broadcast press conferences instantly from a scene or wherever you are via the Ustream app. Set up an account online and then you can broadcast via your smart phone anywhere. Not only can you broadcast live, but with the click of one button you can send a tweet out to your followers that you are now streaming video live. There are many scenarios where this can come in handy. Maybe a catastrophic storm just came through your area. A tornado or hurricane and you need to get instant informa ...

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Monday, May 21, 2012

The Timing of 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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Ever wonder what's the best time to post certain items to your Facebook or Twitter pages so that the most people see them? A recent study has come up with some suggestions based on the metrics of several social networking sites. Though I think the real answer depends largely on your community or audience, the survey says it also depends on the individual social networking medium itself. A few interesting facts from their research: *The half-life of a Twitter link or tweet is 2.8 hours. That means if you're promoting an upcoming event or trying to inform citizens about an ongoing traffic hazard, you'll need to tweet a few times to reach as many people as possible. *The peak time for Facebook posting is between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday. And, like Twitter, the researchers say, don't bother posting after 8 p.m. or on the weekends. While this helpful to know when you're trying to post information that you really want viewed, I think you can also post information during non-peak ...

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Comment Policies

By Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows is a recently retired sergeant with 25 years of law enforcement experience.

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How many agencies have started to look at social media use for their organization and have been stumped by one simple challenge - comments from the public? There have been many cases of agencies starting social media accounts that reversed their entry and others that are stalling on their choice to enter because of the perceived and real problems in knowing how to deal with comments from the public. The other consideration that also plays into this spectrum is returning comments from the organization. This can also be a hindrance if you don't have some clear guidelines. So in essence there are two problems here. 1. Commenting from the public 2. Commenting to the public Let's look at the latter first. Any choice to enter social media in a robust and vibrant way should erase concerns of commenting to the public in response to questions and or comments. You see, if you enter social media to only broadcast your information you are going to miss the most important and effective part of the space... s ...

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Social Media and Officer Safety

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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With National Police Week approaching, it seems like an appropriate time to reflect on officer safety. This year, 362 names are being added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Dedicated in 1991, the Memorial honors more than 19,000 officers who have been killed in the line of duty. The IACP offers many officer safety resources through our National Center for the Prevention of Violence Against the Police, a partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice. We also offer several other officer safety programs. As with any new technology, social media adds a new component to officer safety considerations. More and more frequently, chiefs and sheriffs tell us their stories about instances where social media has compromised police operations, criminal investigations, officer safety, and family notifications of officers killed or injured in the line of duty. The Center offers a Facebook Safety for Law Enforcement fact sheet, a Facebook Privacy Settings Checklist, a ...

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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Pinterest in Kansas City

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 blog post comes from Sarah Boyd, public relations specialist with the Kansas City, Missouri Police, Department. In her five years with the department, she has implemented and managed most of KCPD's social media accounts and strategy. She previously worked as a newspaper reporter covering crime, courts, and schools. She can be contacted at sarah.boyd@kcpd.org or 816-889-6133. In early 2012, I heard more and more of my friends talking about Pinterest. I didn't use it personally, and I didn't think it was a viable platform for a law enforcement agency. The U.S. Army changed my mind. I saw how they were using Pinterest to tell their story and target an audience they otherwise may have missed, and I believed it was something Kansas City Police could do, too. It also was becoming too big to ignore. Pinterest now is the 16th most popular Web site in the United States, according to AppAppeal.com. Law enforcement, like the military, is majority male. Combined with their duties enforcing laws, ...

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Thursday, May 03, 2012

When Controversy Creates a Crush of Comments

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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Recently, an Idaho State agency chose to shut down its Facebook page. Managers said the page was taking too much time and employee resources. The problem wasn't too many issues - just one. The agency found its Facebook page had become a venting opportunity for citizens with strong opinions about an ongoing, emotional and controversial topic, and it overwhelmed the agency's ability to manage the page. An Idaho state legislator also ran into something similar when he introduced a controversial bill that attracted national news attention, prompting activists from around the world to inundate his page with a huge number of mainly negative comments. So what if an agency's Facebook page gets overwhelmed by hundreds or thousands of comments, passionate over a single issue? The topic was brought up recently among those of us who manage Facebook pages here in the City of Boise. One of my city colleagues had met a PIO at a recent training conference who had faced the situation and managed it without deactivat ...

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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.

Ben Gorban

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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