Policing and law enforcement agencies are a dynamic mix of the old and new. Old personnel, new personnel. Old thinking, new thinking. Old techniques, new techniques. Old technology, new technology. I’ve always found it quite funny to deal with the dinosaur mentalities of policing. The people who are stuck in the idea of, “That’s not how we used to do it.” “Why do we need to change?” “I wouldn’t ever do it that way.”
Dinosaur thinking has a lot to do with where we are today. Massive oversight, lack of trust and respect, less people banging down the doors of our recruitment offices.
Not all dinosaur thoughts are wrong. How to investigate, how to carry yourself, how to interview. These are the staples of policing. Time tested and proven things.
But there are many dinosaurs that do not understand the value that a robust social media presence can bring to your community and your agency. The speed of information exchange, the dynamic depth of conversations, the ability for the community to share your information.
Budgets, priorities, community safety, personal safety, awareness, and education can all be impacted by the use of social media. Both positive and negative.
Social media is not the silver bullet for policing. While alone it will not save the world, catch the criminals, insulate your citizens or reduce your budgets…coupled with old school and new school, it can have dramatic impacts on all of the above.
There is a definite clash between the old and the new with the use of social media for policing and law enforcement. But, if you are resisting, you need to question and identify what it is you don’t like about it and then recognize one major factor. The rest of the world is on board…why aren’t you? Whose thinking is out of line?
Are there risks? Absolutely. But if we lived in a world without risk, you wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning. Managing the risks is key.
I recommend that if you or anyone in your agency is fearful of entering into the social media/social networking space then make sure you attend the social media/ public information streams at this year’s IACP Annual Conference. You will be enlightened by those that are actually doing social right. The same people that have met the risks and objectives head on and championed the good of their communities by entering into the space.
How many of you said, “I will never carry a cell phone.” Or, “I will never use Facebook.” Chances are, many of had said those statements…and chances are, you are doing both.
Read the rest of entry »