The Social Media Beat

The Social Media Beat

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 - 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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The use of social media by law enforcement has now become more of the norm rather than the exception. According to a recent survey by the IACP, 92.4% of agencies surveyed use social media. This fact doesn’t necessarily mean that every department using social media is doing so effectively. However, it does mean social media has become much more accepted and a part of how police departments communicate with the public. Law enforcement’s interest in social media was also evidenced by the large number of social media themed classes offered at the IACP Annual Conference and the large number of attendees at the sessions. Each class was well attended and comments and questions were plentiful. Law enforcement agencies use social media for a variety of reasons. Topping the list is criminal investigations followed by notifying the public of crime problems according to the recent IACP survey. Click here to see the entire 2012 IACP survey. The most common social media platforms used by law enforce ...

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Monday, December 24, 2012

In Case You Missed It: Changes to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

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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As 2012 comes to a close, a few popular social media sites have rolled out some major changes. So, in case you missed it… Instagram updated its terms of service. Twice, actually. Instagram updated their terms of service early last week and immediately received negative feedback from users. One of the big points of contention was whether Instagram would be selling users’ photos. They then released an updated terms of service later in the week ( and in a press statement noted that they would not be selling users’ photos. Twitter now allows users to download their tweet archive. Users can now get a list of all their tweets and retweets since they created their account to the present. Once you download your archive you are able to view tweets by month or search your tweets for certain keywords, hashtags, or @mentions. Twitter explains the process for downloading your archive on their blog ( ...

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Friday, December 21, 2012

5 Facebook Metrics You Need to Know

By Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows

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

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If you have ever taken the time to download the complete load of information that is available to you through Facebook Insights you know that you get more than a couple of packets of information. Under “Key Metrics” alone there are 28 columns of information. Add to that seven other spreadsheets with information and you have enough data to make even the most dedicated analyzer nauseous. Good news… you don’t have to go as far as downloading all your Insights to know what is important. In my opinion, there are only five that you need to concentrate on. 1.)    People who saw your post 2.)    Shares 3.)    Comments 4.)    Likes 5.)    Virility It’s great that you may have 15,000 people who like your page, but if no one is seeing your posts, commenting on them, or sharing your information then it doesn’t really matter. Your whole reason for using a tool such as Facebook should be based ...

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Year in Review

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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After the frenzy for many agencies to get on the social media bandwagon, it seems things have slowed down a bit. Just like anything new and shiny, you want to play with it all the time at the beginning then push it aside when something else new comes along. But with social media I don’t think the shine has worn off, it’s just becoming part of our daily routine. Think back 2-3 years ago. Everyone was talking about it, whether they liked the idea or not. When I went to my first IACP Conference in Orlando in 2010, there were two social media workshops for PIO’s and we had about 50-60 people attend them.  Fast forward to this past IACP Conference in San Diego and there were full days of PIO/Social Media content almost every day and most workshops had standing room only. And from talking to those in law enforcement there, more agencies have a social media presence than didn’t at the conference.   Also, agencies are now pushing the envelope with what they are doing. Some are ...

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Police Good News - A Two-Way Street?

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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By now, you may have seen the photo of Officer Lawrence DePrimo of the NYPD after he coughed up 75 bucks of his own money to buy a pair of boots for a cold, barefooted homeless guy. The photo went viral after it was posted to the NYPD’s Facebook page, even landing Officer DePrimo on the Today show. It’s a great story. Made me a little verklempt, even. But at the same time, the whole thing left me asking a bunch of conflicting questions: Why did this photo cause such a sensation? Are people reacting out of surprise or affirmation or both? Was the pic a hit because it’s a side of police work we so rarely see? If so, why don’t we see more Boots DePrimos? For me, the photo seemed to illustrate what is both wrong and right with the image of police and our role in shaping that image. This kind of stuff – these random acts of kindness by officers– happen in our communities every single day. They far outnumber deeds of police misconduct or even heroism. So the question is, ...

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Friday, December 07, 2012

PGPD Now Tweeting the Beat

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 post comes from Julie Parker, Director of the Media Relations Division for the Prince George's County, Maryland, Police Department. Responsible for media and public relations in a dynamic environment, Julie has incorporated the modern advances of social media in law enforcement that have created greater access, transparency, and accountability for the community and media. Julie serves as the PGPD's representative on the Crime Solvers, Inc. Board of Directors, a non-profit organization of community and business leaders that encourages greater community cooperation to close unsolved crimes.  Before joining the department, Julie worked as an Emmy-award winning general assignment reporter and anchor for ABC7 News & NewsChannel 8 in the Washington, D.C. market for 14 years. For the first time, the Prince George’s County, Maryland, Police Department, the 28th largest police department in the nation, held a virtual ride along called the PGPDTweetAlong. Armed only with an ...

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Monday, December 03, 2012

Just Click "Like"

By Dionne Waugh

Dionne Waugh

Dionne Waugh is the Digital Communications Manager for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office in Colorado. Follow Dionne on Twitter @JeffCoSheriffCo.

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As most of us know by now, Facebook is regularly making changes to how the site works and where your content shows up. By the time you figure something out, something else has changed. Well, we’ve recently discovered one change that has turned out to be quite positive. We allow our fans to comment on all aspects of our Facebook page and when it’s a complimentary post, we click the ‘like’ button to let them know we appreciate their post. Thanks to Facebook’s recent changes, all of our other fans now see when we like something. It’s similar to what they would see if a Facebook friend of theirs liked the latest Twilight movie review or a post by any other business. Similar to the Richmond Police Department’s own posts, our “likes” now appear in our fans’ user feeds as well. One of the most recent and best examples we’ve had with this occurred during the Thanksgiving holiday, which is slightly ironic because that’s usually a time wh ...

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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 Digital Communications Manager for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, which is the largest, full-service sheriff’s office in the state of Colorado. Prior to that, she spent more than six years creating and leading the Richmond, Virginia, Police Department’s social media efforts, which led to international acclaim and recognition.

She has spoken about law enforcement and social media at more than a dozen conferences across the country in addition to four IACP annual conferences. Waugh is a former newspaper reporter who wrote about crime, police, and the court system for several 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 @JeffCoSheriffCo.

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 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.

Zach Perron

Lieutenant Zach Perron is the public affairs manager for the Palo Alto (CA) Police Department. Zach was a 2014 visiting fellow at the IACP in the Center for Social Media. He serves on the steering committee for the Bay Area Law Enforcement Social Media Group (BALESMG), and is a member of the US. Department of Homeland Security's Virtual Social Media Working Group (VSMWG). He holds a bachelor's degree in American Studies from Stanford University and is now pursuing a graduate education at the Naval Postgraduate School's Center for Homeland Defense and Security in Monterey, California.  You can follow him on Twitter: @zpPAPD.

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

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 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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