The Social Media Beat

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The Social Media Beat

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Trust, Do You Have It?

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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In my last blog post on using digital media channels during crisis communications, I discussed the following takeaways: * Tweet early, tweet often, and tweet relevant * Be the source of content and information * Identify and create a hashtag for the event * Engage and answer questions, when possible I didn’t realize it at the time, but I left off a very important aspect of crisis communications.  A PIO from a neighboring agency contacted me shortly after IACP published the post and gave me some honest feedback on how I had missed the mark (and he was totally right).  In his words, “From reading your IACP post, one might think that having a Twitter account is the key to all this [crisis communications].  I think the tools are really secondary.  One thing that you don’t talk about much and seem to take for granted is the high quality and speed of information flowing from the field to Shino [MVPD social media coordinator] and vice versa.” He could not have ...

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Mighty QR Code

By Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows

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

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The mighty QR code? “Burrows has lost his marbles!” Well, that very well might be true but I’m serious…the mighty QR code.  Please tell me anything else in the world of marketing and information sharing that is more mysterious? A little square of black and white that can hold a virtual multimedia smorgasbord of creativity and content.  Scan the matrix with your mobile device and who knows what wonders you are in store for…and therein lies the problem. When QR codes went from the parts warehouse to the advertising agency someone got them really screwed up. QR codes on billboards, in subway tunnels beyond the 3rd rail, using them in digital platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.  Seriously, how did the mighty QR code stand a fighting chance when the simplicity of it got destroyed with stupidity? That is second reason that QR codes got a bad rap. People pointed the QR code at a website or location that shared no more information than the QR code itse ...

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Capturing a Moment: How IACP PIO Training Brought Inspiration at Just the Right Time

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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Boise Police Department recently had a “social media moment.” You know, one of those posts that, while perhaps not viral, shot well above the normal views, shares, etc. A couple cool things about this moment: first, it brought back some basics about interactions and the relationship our department has with our community; second, as it was happening, several names of some great chiefs and PIOs kept coming to my mind that gave me inspiration to ask, “what would (insert name here) do?” What happened: On May 30th, BPD School Resource Officer Russ Swift retired. After ten years serving at a local junior high, Officer Swift’s wishes were to hold his retirement ceremony at the school during their annual end of the school year achievement assembly. Pretty cool. The school gave permission for media and our department to cover the event. A media release was sent out, but it turned out to be a busy news day and no media showed up. That was too bad but it happens, so I covered it for ...

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

It’s ‘All in the Family’ on Facebook

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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Nowadays, most people have heard of the social media meme “Throwback Thursday” or “Flashback Friday.” It’s the day of the week when people post older, or “vintage” photos of themselves on social media sites. In the past year, police departments and businesses have also gotten in on the action. One of our neighboring agencies, Henrico Police, has been posting Flashback Friday history photos for a while now and their fans love it. One of our deputy chiefs recently came to us and said he loved seeing those photos and others from his home state law enforcement agency so he asked if we could start posting some. Given our large folder of history photos, finding cool photos wasn’t a problem. We just had to make a little extra time to post them. But the most fascinating – and completely unexpected result – of this was the surge in comments, shares, likes, and connections from retired officers and communications officers, their family, their friends, ...

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Social Media Integration

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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According to a 2013 survey completed by the IACP, 95.9% of police departments use social media.  This is an extremely high saturation rate. Of course this number doesn’t necessarily mean each agency is using social media effectively. In most departments, one person has been assigned to manage the department’s social media activity. In some cases this is all that is needed and in other cases this is all the resources the department can afford to assign. Social media duties and activities are usually not a full-time job for this staff member. Instead, the duties are ancillary on top of their already overcrowded plate. Many do an excellent job. However, many also feel overwhelmed by the added burden and suffer from a lack of time and a lack of support. This problem can be addressed by integrating social media throughout the organization and using multiple staff contributors to help carry the workload.   When community policing began, agencies were quick to create “community outreac ...

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Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Managing Events through Social Media – A Two-Sided Example of What Works and What Doesn’t

By Dave Norris

Dave Norris

Dave Norris is a sergeant with San Mateo, California, Police Department.

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In May every year, San Mateo hosts an event called Maker Faire that essentially doubles the population and traffic in our city over a weekend. This event for the most part operates like a well-oiled machine. An extraordinarily well-prepared and organized staff of professionals who do similar events internationally run Maker Faire, preparing for nearly every contingency. Two important factors for such events in San Mateo – 1. Two major arterial freeways for the SF Bay Area intersect right here in the center of San Mateo. 2. Connecting roadways to the native parking lots of our County’s Event Center (grounds for Maker Faire, located here in San Mateo), while efficient enough to hold the day-to-day commute traffic for nearby offices and businesses, get quickly congested when vehicular traffic pours in for a major event. This congestion is magnified when these lots fill to capacity within minutes. OUR PLAN - Maker Faire organizers use several high-capacity off-site lots with shuttle service ...

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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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