The Social Media Beat

The Social Media Beat

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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Friday, April 26, 2013

Social Media Response to Crimes in Progress

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 use of social media by law enforcement has grown exponentially over the last several years.  Overall, that growth has been beneficial for most agencies.  In fact, agencies have benefited by improving their interactions with the community, educating their citizens, promoting their positive achievements and disseminating real time information to the community.  However, not every aspect of this social media phenomenon has been positive.  One challenge facing most agencies is how to handle the posting of information about crimes in progress or reporting of crimes after the fact by citizens on the agencies social media outlets. It is impossible for most law enforcement agencies to monitor all of their social media channels 24/7 and respond to calls for service.  Therefore, it is important for all agencies that use any social media platform to post a notice in the description or information section which clearly states the site is not monitored 24/7 and any request for police servic ...

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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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Friday, February 22, 2013

Incident Updates via Social Media: Asset or Liability

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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As law enforcements use of social media grows, the public’s thirst for more information continues to rise exponentially. Not only does the public want more information, they also want it right now. When should police departments provide information about ongoing, in progress incidents and when should they not provide this information? This question is not easily answered since no two communities are alike and no two incidents are the same. However, some basic guidelines can be helpful to understand the overall concept of publishing real time incident information and the value to the organization and potential pitfalls as well. How law enforcement agencies handle posting in progress incident information varies greatly across the country. Some departments are quick to post information while others rarely post information about in progress incidents. Some departments, like @SeattlePD has even created a program titled Tweets by Beat where incidents are tweeted to different beat Twitter accounts directly ...

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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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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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