The Social Media Beat

The Social Media Beat

Friday, October 24, 2014

Social Media Created Citizen Investigators

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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Whether your department uses Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or a different platform, you can take advantage of the power of social media to create citizen investigators across your community.  Unfortunately, that will never happen unless your department is using social media and making a concerted effort to engage your community.  One of the easiest ways to activate these citizen investigators is to post videos or photos of suspects committing crimes so they may be identified.  A quick search of Google reveals how successful this simple, yet effective, tool can be.  A lot of stolen merchandise finds its way to police departments and it can be difficult to locate the rightful owner.  Fortunately, social media provides a great platform to reconnect those separated from their property.  Simply take a photo of the stolen property, post it on your social media channels with a description and wait for the leads to come in.  Ok.  It might not work that easily, bu ...

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Thursday, September 04, 2014

Three Reasons Social Media is Critical to Your Communications Plan

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 time for social media to be integrated into your communications plan is today. Any further delay in implementation may have an adverse impact on your department, your community, and your staff. Listed below are three reasons social media should be an integral part of your communications plan. Crisis Communication The next crisis could be in your city. It could happen anywhere, anytime, and for a variety of reasons. Although there is uncertainty about the location of the next crisis, there is certainty that the conversations about the crisis will occur on social media…immediately! Your department’s response on social media can make all the difference. Your agency must have a strong presence in the digital communications realm in order to join in those conversations and be able to separate fact from fiction when appropriate. Every crisis is different. Your level of engagement on social media and the type of engagement will be dictated by the circumstances of the crisis. However, if you ar ...

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Creating Value with Video

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 recent study by Nielsen, adults in the United States spend an average of 34 hours per month accessing the Internet from their mobile devices, with five hours and 48 minutes of that time spent watching videos.  In comparison, adults in the United States spend an average of 27 hours accessing the Internet from their home computers with 6 hours and 41 minutes of that time spent watching videos. What does all of this mean?  To put video in perspective, over six billion hours of videos are watched each month on YouTube. Your department needs to tap into this massive market.  Video can be a great way to get the attention of your community and deliver important messages.  You may also be able to reach a different audience than through your usual use of social media.  This topic has been discussed many times on this blog but bears repeating and reminding readers of the value of video. The Hampton Police Department recently produced a video with a message about youth violence ...

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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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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Is Your Social Media Engagement Too Passive?

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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This is a question many departments fail to ask themselves. What this question is really trying to find out is if your department is adequately engaged on social media. Does your department allow comments? Do you respond to those comments when appropriate? A great percentage of law enforcement agencies report they are actively using social media. However, are they effectively using social media? That is the question. In too many cases, the department sets up a Facebook, Twitter, or other social media account, posts occasionally and that is where their interaction ends. If this is how your department uses social media, you are missing out on potentially the most valuable benefit of using social media, which is the relationship you nurture, build upon, and strengthen in your community.There is no easy formula or guide an agency can follow to make sure they are properly engaged since each department and each community is different. However, there a few simple guidelines that will help.The first is to al ...

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Grammar Police

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 need for proper spelling and grammar is emphasized in police mandated training, the field training officer program, and through continued observation and corrective action taken by supervisors on reports.  Most departments even rate report writing on there annual evaluations. Unfortunately, most departments rarely consider proper spelling and grammer when posting on their social media platforms. Recently, one of the supervisors with the Dunwoody Police Department posted information on Facebook about smoke being visible in a certain area of the City of Dunwoody.  In his haste, he used the word presents when he meant too type presence.  The mistake was quickly pointed out in a comment by one of the department’s followers. Although some shorthand is used on certain social media sites like Twitter, because of the character limitation, that should not be the norm.  It is important that the massage the department is trying to convey is clearly and accurately r ...

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Creating Videos in the Palm of Your Hand

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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At the recent IACP Conference in Philadelphia, 16 social media classes on a wide variety of topics were offered.  There were several sessions which specifically addressed using video and the topic came up during discussion time at several other sessions as well.    After attending these sessions, I decided to try and record and edit a Halloween safety video for the Dunwoody Police Department using my iPhone 5 exclusively.  I believe video reaches your community in ways that text or photos can’t.   First, I downloaded the app iMovie from Apple.  This app allows you to put photos, video, and other information together into a final product.  You can use this app to share the finished video using several different platforms including YouTube.  In a search of the app store, I located Intro Designer.  Intro Designer has intro templates covering various topical subjects, which can be downloaded and customized for your use.  I used this app to design a cus ...

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Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Boston Terrorist Attack and the Use of Social Media

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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Today’s post is the fourth in a series of blog posts highlighting IACP 2013 social media workshops. This post is about the Case Study – Boston: Leading Social Media in Crisis session on Monday, October 21. In light of the Boston Marathon bombing, attendees of the 2013 IACP Conference were looking forward to the insights offered by the panelists about how the use of social media benefited law enforcement’s response to the crisis.   The panelists began their presentation with a very moving video of the timeline of the bombing from the moment it happened to the capture of the suspect.  Intermingled in the video were examples of postings from social media from citizens as well as the police. Cheryl Fiandaca, Bureau Chief, Public Information for the Boston Police Department described her initial response to the bombing and how she managed her team throughout the crisis.  The Boston Police Commissioner directed her to provide as much information as possible through social m ...

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Anatomy of a Viral Post

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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For all of those who use social media, you dream of the post, story, photo, or video that goes viral and reaches an audience beyond your expectation.  In law enforcement circles, a viral post can bring attention to your social media channel and add followers; thereby increasing your department’s reach and influence in your local community.  Although viral posts do happen from time to time, for the most part they are few and far between, especially in law enforcement circles.   On July 26, 2013, the Dunwoody Police Department posted a photo and story on their Facebook page about an elderly woman who had a flat tire and was stranded on Interstate 285.  The department had a delayed response due to traffic.  An Army National Guardsman stopped and helped her get to the side of the road and changed her tire.  Sergeant Espinoza posted a nice write up about what happened.  Surprisingly, this post went viral. Several things contributed to the post going viral.  T ...

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Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Posting Incident Scene Photos on Social Media: A Word of Caution

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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Most law enforcement agencies prohibit their staff from taking photos at accident scenes, crime scenes, and other incidents and posting them on their personal social media sites.  This is certainly a best practice and can prevent embarrassing situations from occurring.  However, many agencies allow certain photos of scenes to be posted on the agency’s social media sites in order to inform the public about the activity.  When done properly, this can be a great benefit to the community.  When done improperly, the practice can be a nightmare for the agency. If a few simple precautions are taken, most problems can be avoided.  Of course each agency is governed by the individual rules of their state.  A general rule to follow is to not post photos where the people involved in the incident are readily identifiable.  Recent changes in Connecticut and New Jersey law make it a criminal offense for emergency personnel (fire, EMS, or police) to take photos depicting patients u ...

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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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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.

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