The Social Media Beat

The Social Media Beat

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why Law Enforcement Should Be Using Instagram

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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Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube may get all the attention when it comes to social media, but the mighty Instagram should also be a contender when it comes to engaging with your community. According to Digital Marketing Ramblings, Instagram’s growth has been huge in the past two years alone, especially since it only launched four years ago: * 75 million daily users * 51 percent of the Class of 2014 high school seniors use Instagram daily * 70 percent of Instagram users log in every day * 66 percent growth in people who use Instagram from 2012 to 2013 We’ve seen a few blogs on here about the platform itself and what you can do, but we’ve recently started posting more images and videos on our Instagram feed and seen some great results. Here’s one of my favorite examples:   An Instagram user tagged us in this great photo of one of our officers having a little fun during a bicycle safety event. I don’t know if the person uses Facebook or Twitter, but since we ...

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

We’re All in This Together

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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It’s a brilliant idea, really. Take any officer in your agency and pose them with an adorable cat or dog from your animal division that’s in need of a home and post the photo on your Facebook page, asking the community to help you get that animal adopted. Cue the positive likes, comments, shares, and animal adoptions! It’s a wonderful idea and I wish it was mine. It’s one of several creative and engaging ideas from the talented crew at the Arlington, Texas, Police Department. I’ve used this space before to write about how helpful it is for law enforcement agencies to learn from one another, and I’d like to take today to share some examples of what a great job the APD is doing. If you’re not following them, now would be a good time to start and here’s why: Lesson One: Everybody loves animals. We all know that. But their idea to pair together animals in need and spotlight their officers on a regular basis is clever! I’ll readily admit that I have ...

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Power of an Ask

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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I'll be honest. Most of our Facebook posts are about positive incidents and officer interactions and not a lot about wanted suspects or surveillance images. The reason behind this is because such posts are not very interesting or “popular” to our Facebook fans, according to our analytics. However, we had a recent incident that we knew would be different and it has really reminded us of the importance of using social media when it comes to the basics of what we do – identifying and finding criminals. The incident began as a traffic stop that turned into a brief pursuit and then a confrontation between our officers and suspects. As our officers approached the suspects’ vehicle, the driver suddenly reversed course and struck two of our officers with his vehicle before fleeing the scene. Thankfully, our officers are OK, and we knew that our community would want to help in any way they could. We also knew that the media and the community would treat finding this suspect different ...

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

It’s ‘All in the Family’ on Facebook

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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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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Friday, May 09, 2014

Working Together: Creating the Virginia Law Enforcement Social Media Group

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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In this space, you read volumes of good information from several talented and diverse law enforcement individuals about all the best ways to make social media work for your agency. The only thing better than that is experiencing and learning the information in person with a group of like-minded professionals. To that end, Richmond PD just partnered with the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police to launch the Virginia Law Enforcement Social Media Group. The goal is to have quarterly meetings across the state as well as a smaller, planning committee that talks monthly to plan a diverse agenda. Creating this group has been a personal goal of mine ever since I first heard about the Bay Area Law Enforcement Social Media Group (BALESMG), created by the Redwood City and Fremont Police Departments. The idea of law enforcement agencies not just considering using social media, but actually embracing it so much so that they get together to brainstorm ideas, discuss issues and experiences, and strategize w ...

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Using Social Media to Boost Employee Morale

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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I think it’s safe to say we always hear when someone is unhappy, something goes wrong or someone thinks something is wrong. But it’s rare when people go out of their way to let us know when something good happens or they think an officer has done well. When someone is fired up about something positive that’s happened, they don’t usually go out of their way to let people know. Social media is changing that. It’s never been easier than today to tweet, Facebook, blog, or post a video to YouTube, Vine, or Instagram about how you feel about something. Though this cuts both ways, it’s definitely a positive thing for police agencies looking to engage, communicate, and improve relationships with their communities. It’s also an important tool that can be used to boost employee morale. For example, every weekday we post an item called Today’s Good News on the Richmond Police Facebook page. We started that posting as a way to bring positive news to our community a ...

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Sharing the Reins

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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If your agency has a pretty well established and active Facebook and Twitter page and you’re looking for that next step in enhancing your social media presence, let me suggest allowing some of your officers to tweet on behalf of the department. Though the idea of sharing the reins of all your social media hard work with others who have different skill levels and other responsibilities may sound scary, with planning and guidance, it can be hugely beneficial. One large agency example is the Dallas Police Department. If you haven’t heard about their recently unveiled campaign called “DPD Tweets Big,” it’s something to read about. They’re one of the first agencies in the country to support and encourage their officers to tweet from the field. The Philadelphia Police Department is another great example. Two members of our command staff – Deputy Chief John Buturla (www.Twitter.com/RPDDepChiefJB) and sector Lt. Dave Naoroz (www.Twitter.com/RPDLtDave) – have be ...

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Using Social Media to Go Beyond Recruitment

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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Many agencies have quickly come to realize how beneficial social media sites can be when it comes to recruitment efforts. But do you also realize that the “fans” you make during these endeavors are very likely to stick around and become long-time, strong supporters of your agency? That’s what we’ve seen at Richmond Police during the past five years we’ve used our Facebook page to share information and the experience of what our recruits go through to become sworn officers. We started by doing weekly photos of what the recruits learned that week—from the excitement of being placed in the K-9 bite suit to the dull, but critically important skills of report writing.     We’ve also done a Tumblr blog and different types of video. Though some might question why we keep posting similar information for every class, the comments alone show us why it’s so important. Here’s one example:   Because the recruits in th ...

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

RPD Loves Animals & Good Police Stories – And So Does the Rest of the World

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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At this point in the social media game, most people know that photos of animals are pretty popular. From police agencies’ K-9 units to mounted squads to animal rescues, it’s clear that the people love animal postings. But a recent Facebook project of ours just blew us away by showing us how MUCH the whole world loves both animal postings AND good police stories when it made two of our posts go viral. That project (and Facebook photo album) was called “RPD Loves Animals.” The main reason we did this project was to showcase how much animals teach us and how those experiences make our officers better people and subsequently better officers. I think a lot of the times when people hear about police and animals, it involves an officer shooting a dog, but not this time. This time we profiled six officers who have a variety of interesting animals or animal experiences and what it has taught them. Some examples included an officer who takes the time to volunteer at the city animal she ...

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Richmond Police’s 10,000th Tweet!

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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There’s a lot to be said for recognizing the milestones in your social media journey. It shows how far you’ve come, what you’ve accomplished, and inspires you for the future. Most of the time, agencies do this by keeping track of the number of followers or likes, but as my colleague Chris Hsiung recently pointed out, successful social media use is more than just the numbers. That’s why when we at Richmond Police realized we were about to tweet our 10,000th tweet, we thought it important to stop and reflect. It was a moment to realize just how often we communicate with our citizens via Twitter. A lot of thought and planning goes into most of our tweets so that we and our community get the most engagement possible, and we wanted our 10,000th to reflect that and celebrate the milestone. Our message was obvious. We wanted to say thank you to the community that has supported, encouraged, and motivated us. But we wanted to make it a special thank you. That’s why we asked Chief ...

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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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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.

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