The Social Media Beat

The Social Media Beat

Monday, January 28, 2013

Community Policing and Confronting Violent Extremism

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 we frequently discuss on The Social Media Beat, social media is a key component to a modern community policing strategy. It comes as no surprise that social media is also actively used for criminal purposes and this technology is frequently used in criminal investigations. 77% of law enforcement agencies reported using social media for investigative purposes in IACP’s most recent social media survey. Nearly 60% of agencies also reported they use social media platforms to share crime prevention. Recently the IACP received grant funds from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office to develop resources for the law enforcement community to prevent and confront violent extremism through the application of community policing principles and strategies. As the threat from homegrown terrorism increases, it is clear that prevention efforts at the state and local level are vital to protecting homeland security. So why is the IACP Center for Social Media involved in this effort? Frankly, ...

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Broaden Your Content - Broaden Your Audience

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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Know anyone who always seems to talk about the same ‘ole thing? And have you ever avoided that person because that’s not what you felt like discussing? How about a politician who only promotes one issue, so when other issues are discussed, that politician is irrelevant? The constituents eventually feel cheated and that politician doesn’t last long in office. Most of us have a variety of topics we’re interested in that we appreciate hearing and talking about. As police agencies, we are experts in public safety. That’s our mission and that is our message. But let’s face it – public safety is not always what everyone wants to hear about. Crime and posts of suspect photos and road closures can begin to look pretty gloomy. A lot of law enforcement Facebook pages have a great variety of content! But there are still quite a number that also look and read like a blotter and a jail roster. Not that crime and booking photos are bad, but with social media, there’s a tri ...

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Forgotten 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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There is no doubt that we are getting better at using social media as a tool to assist our agencies with messaging, safety information, community building, and general conversations. Many investigations have been assisted and commenced by using tools like Facebook and Twitter while we have captured our audience’s attention with Pinterest and YouTube. But what about the original social engagement tool? Have we all forgotten about simple, good old-fashioned e-mail? Remember the glory days of e-mail before spam and chain letters took hold of our inboxes? There was a time when e-mail was the end all and be all of staying connected. Next to the telephone, it was the best way to communicate when not face to face. Businesses have focused more and more money on using social media to market and sell. They have become masters at opt-in contests and making you feel you are part of an event or a campaign but they still want your e-mail address and for very good reasons. There are still people who aren’t ...

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Don't Blindside Your PIO

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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Law enforcement’s use of social media is an evolving phenomenon. As it began, the responsibility for posting information and monitoring typically resided with the personnel assigned to Community Outreach or Public Relations. Over the last several years, there has been a diversification of responsibility when it comes to social media. In many cases, the person responsible for the agency’s social media engagement may very well work outside community engagement or public relations. Some departments have found that social media engagement is best managed by someone who has the skills and the interest in it, rather than assigning the task to someone in a specific position. Other departments have simply opened up opportunities for multiple staff members to engage in using social media across a wide spectrum of assignments within the department. If your department is engaged in social media, you can be assured that your local media will be following, “liking,” or monitoring what you do. Th ...

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Monday, January 14, 2013

We Tweet Better Than You...

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 constantly hear about what different agencies are doing with their social media.  Some tweet their daily call logs, some have tweet-ups, others do live tweets while driving around with officers. Others hold town meetings on Skype, or put out the joke of the day. I’m asked why we don’t do this or that with social media. And the answer is simple, we do what we feel fits best in our community. That should be the guideline everyone uses. What works best to keep your residents, your businesses, and your community updated and informed? It’s not a contest of we should do that or why didn’t we try that, it’s a simple formula. Some agencies might make a YouTube video to the latest viral song on the Internet, for them and their constituents that might work. But for others it might be frowned upon. I use the recent example of the Tampa Police Department. Their PIO team created a video to the hit song “Call Me Maybe”. They took a chance not only with their community ...

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Friday, January 11, 2013

What's Your Social Media Voice?

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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Social media is a unique form of “business communication.”  It is decidedly more personal and less formal than more traditional forms.  Posts that read like an official press release or a memo tend to fall flat. The “just the facts ma’am” approach just doesn’t cut it in a Web 2.0 environment.  People want and expect a more colloquial vibe, even, I would say, from their public servants.  While the public rightfully demands a high level of professionalism from its police, a little personality can go a long way.   Deciding on what “voice” to use in social media can be tricky, particularly for police. Indeed, it’s a delicate balance between the roles of community servant and authority figure– one departments and officers know well.  How do you give good quality information but with flair and a je ne sais quoi that will resonate with people? Some people have the knack and can do it naturally, while others have to work a ...

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Monday, January 07, 2013

Social Media Should Be Social

By Frank Domizio

Frank Domizio

Frank Domizio is a Corporal with the Philadelphia Police Department in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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I became a police officer for several reasons. I wanted to follow in my grandfather's foot steps, I wanted the excitement, I wanted to help people. I never imagined, not in a million years, I would find myself writing a blog post for the IACP while working as the social media community manager on the police commissioner's communications team. When you think about it, in 1997 the terms 'blog', 'social media', and 'community manager' had not even entered the lexicon. But 16 years later, here I am being asked to describe my point-of-view on social media. I think my view can be summed up in the statement: “Social media should be social” Whether you are selling shampoo, running for political office, or working to keep the public informed of crime and safety issues, the platforms that we are using were created to be interactive. Part of the duty we accept when we step in to the social space is to listen and respond to our community. All too often, social media is seen as a way to put out i ...

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Friday, January 04, 2013

Reflecting on 2012 and Looking Forward to 2013

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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Social media has continued to change and provide both new solutions and new issues for law enforcement. The Center for Social Media staff members have traveled all over the U.S. this year, from Florida to Alaska, and we’ve heard stories of both success and challenges. It is clear that the field is developing a better understanding of social media and is using them in creative and unconventional ways. The 2012 IACP Center for Social Media Survey revealed 92.4% of agencies surveyed were using social media in some form (check the survey post for more results). Law enforcement agencies appear to be using a diverse array of tools even experimenting with some cutting edge technologies. It has become more apparent than ever, that there is no single, cookie-cutter strategy for all departments. Law enforcement agencies are finding the right technologies and using them in the right ways that work for their specific communities. More agencies are developing a social media policy and providing education to thei ...

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Thursday, January 03, 2013

Most Popular Posts of 2012

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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The Social Media Beat Bloggers bring a wide range of expertise and experiences to the blog. Throughout the year they have touched on numerous topics that are affecting law enforcement agencies across the country. Each week, they provide valuable insight and reflection. Below is a list of some of the most popular posts from 2012. Don’t Just Have a Social Media Policy – Train on It Facebook Pages Finally Get Much Needed Updates  IACP Releases 2012 Social Media Survey Results Information Released Before Being Officially Released  I’ve Been Outed Measuring Police Performance… Socially New Facebook Scam  Social Media Education in Basic Training  Suicide: Responding to Threats Posted on Social Media Understanding Hashtags and Social Media: A Lesson in What Not to Do Using Social Media to Compliment and Cross-Promote Your Local Media!

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Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Looking Back/Looking Forward

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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A lot has happened this past year when it comes to law enforcement and social media, and the experience for Richmond Police has been no different. We’ve used various social networking platforms to solve crimes; communicate better with our community; and share important information that people need to know. But I think the best way we can continue this trend nation- and world-wide, is to share our experiences and our advice with other agencies. So to that end, here are a few pieces of advice from the Richmond Police Department’s four years of using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Foursquare, Pinterest, and UStream: *Don’t disregard a post because you think it’s silly. For example: earlier this month we had four officers stack a bunch of trashcans on top of one another to help rescue two cats that had been stuck in a tree for five days. Though we got some questionable looks when we tried to explain why this was interesting or important, our Facebook fans LOVED it. ...

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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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