The Social Media Beat

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The Social Media Beat

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Changing Nature of Citizen Interaction

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 the “olden” days, the primary way for a citizen to complain or bring a concern to their police department was to come to the department or stop an officer if they see one. In the following years, the telephone became the primary means to communicate issues and concerns. As we entered the technology revolution, e-mail took over the number one spot. However, all of that has changed with the proliferation of social media. This is especially true if your department engages the community using social media. Now citizens can easily contact the department with an issue or concern in a very public way. In the past, those contacting a department about an issue or concern were never really sure who they should contact or if they would ever receive a response, depending on the nature of the issue. However, today since the issue or concern is being reported publicly on the department’s social media channels, most departments are quick to respond to prevent the issue from escalating. This is true f ...

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Don't Believe Every Tweet You See

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 important things we have is also the most fragile. It can takes years to build and seconds to destroy. We have an immense amount of control over it and yet unforeseen forces can damage it. Careers have been destroyed by it and empires built upon it.  Reputation. We know how important a positive reputation is and how easily a great reputation can be compromised. It astounds me that more agencies aren’t using social media with reputation management in mind, but to each their own.   I have seen many well-intentioned tweets made by agencies and officers that have been changed or manipulated by members of the public, which have completely changed the meaning, and or the intent of the original tweet. Credible and responsible people will indicate a change by using the common MT (modified tweet). Gone unnoticed, this can cause a communication nightmare. I won’t beleaguer the point, because what I want to write about is a new toy on the net that can rip apart your reputation ...

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Does your target audience really see your message?

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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One of the main purposes we in law enforcement use social media is to engage our community. Residents, businesses and those that come here to visit our restaurants and retail areas. But sometimes we stop and ask, are those people really getting the message. We have over 8,000 followers on Twitter but only about 2,300 on Facebook. It varies with each department but for us it seems our message is better received by our Facebook audience even though we have less followers. Why? It’s my belief when you are following a lot of people on Twitter, many tweets get lost in that continuous stream from everyone you are following. There are ways around it. Your followers can save you as a favorite or if they are using an application like TweetDeck or HootSuite they can set up a favorite column to follow your tweets. We do notice the media has done this because as soon as we tweet something out they are on it. Now Facebook is a different beast. We are able to post updates and actual stories to go along with th ...

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Big, Open, Social Data and the Potential for Collective Problem Solving

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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The phrases “big data” and “open data” are everywhere these days. So too are online challenges and contests to solve civic problems through technology. Could just be me, because I’m interested in these topics, but they sure seem to be all over the place – from blogs and tweets, to magazine articles and formal reports. Open data counts as social media. By making data publicly available, then welcoming and encouraging the public to download, analyze, and provide feedback on it, organizations are creating a new level of public interaction, engagement, and transparency. Several large jurisdictions are leading the way in open data, including crime data.     •  New York City has one of the most comprehensive open data policies           in the country     •  Philadelphia releases data on Part I crimes on a daily basis     •  The New Jersey State Police puts weekl ...

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Maximizing the Number of People Who See Your Facebook Posts

By Chris Hsiung

Chris Hsiung

Captain Chris Hsiung commands the Field Operations Division at the Mountain View Police Department in California. You can follow him on Twitter @chMtnViewPD.

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Today's post comes from Chris Hsiung, a lieutenant with the Mountain View Police Department and the social media manager in charge of community engagement and growth through the police department's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest). You can reach him at @chMtnViewPD. Chris holds a Bachelor's degree in Behavior Science & Sociology from San Jose State University and a Master's degree in eBusiness Management from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, CA. The Mountain View Police Department has 97 sworn officers and serves a diverse and technology driven community located in the heart of Silicon Valley. There’s no question that social media is an effective tool for communicating with and engaging the communities that we all serve. The ability to engage in two-way communication with the public or instantly disseminate accurate information to the media and public has arguably been a “game changer” for law enforcement. As a law enforcement government enti ...

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Maximize Your Facebook Posts

By Frank Domizio

Frank Domizio

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

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With over a billion users, Facebook reaches one out of every seven people in the world.  Those of us trying to reach every single one of those billion plus are always looking for ways to optimize our posts. One way to draw more attention to our content is to make sure it gets prominently displayed in our followers' news feeds.  An easy way to accomplish that is by posting a picture with a link instead of a link with a picture.  Here is what I mean. When you copy and paste a link in to your status update, Facebook generates a post that looks like this:   When you upload a picture and then put the title and a link in the description it looks like this: It is much easier to scroll right past the little picture with the text preview that Facebook generates (the screenshots are actual size).  The picture with the link attached takes up more space in the news feed and consequently garners more attention (smile).  In a quite unscientific study we did with the Phill ...

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Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Twitter and Foursquare: A View from the Street Part II

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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Richmond Police Sector Lt. David Naoroz has been using social media in his personal life for a while now so it was only a matter of time before he began using professionally. Richmond Police PIO and fellow social media nerd Dionne Waugh quizzed him about the details to find out what he hopes to accomplish; what he’s learned so far; and the advice he would give to other sworn officers. View Part I of the conversation here.   What has surprised you about the experience? My biggest surprise came a few weeks ago at a community meeting. The attendance at this particular meeting was low, maybe six people. The folks attending were my regulars and had heard my communication pitch before but it wasn’t going to stop me. So, I did a quick smartphone Twitter demo and showed them some other neighborhood groups in and around the city, some with 2,000 plus followers and their eyes lit up! About 10 minutes later the group president looked at me and asked me how much Twitter cost. Suffice to say, ...

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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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