The Social Media Beat

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The Social Media Beat

Monday, December 07, 2015

IACP 2015 Recap – The #LESM Perspective

By Dave Norris

Dave Norris

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

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Who would have thought that this year members and affiliates of the IACP, representing some of the most senior and traditional members of the law enforcement community, would pepper the internet with hundreds of comments on social media, all bearing the hashtag #IACP2015? 2015 is the year… This is the year when law enforcement use of social media (#LESM) hit, merged, and became ingrained in the culture of our business. Granted, we had a series of heroic, violent, tragic, and also embarrassing events that entwined themselves in our culture to push us all to recognize the power social media holds over our image and integrity. Nevertheless – this fact is in the face of even our most staunchly traditional law enforcement professionals – social media IS here to stay, and it DOES matter to us, and to the survival of the law enforcement image we strive to preserve. Although my excuse for attending was the gracious invitation of my colleague and fellow blogger Dionne Waugh to talk about Law En ...

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

“Good Sergeanting” and LESM

By Dave Norris

Dave Norris

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

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This blog is tuned to all levels of supervision and management, but focuses on the first level supervisors - those who have the valued responsibility of conducting shift briefings. I hope this is informative to you all - even if you are a veteran supervisor who, like me and others, started in this business by putting pencil to paper. There is so much noise around us now from the media - and our resources for "teachable moments" are virtually immeasurable - conventional media, social media (mainstream AND on our personal SM streams), and aggregator sources (I get a daily snapshot from both PERF and PoliceOne, and IACP is rolling out a news service for members) - just to name a few. Another great source I rely upon is the email thread of my local Law Enforcement Social Media Group. I encourage you as supervisors and leaders in your organization to take a few steps to make yourselves informed on law enforcement impacts from social media and use this information to keep your troops as open-eyed, informed, and ...

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Super-Sizing Your Tweets for High-Impact

By Dave Norris

Dave Norris

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

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At my agency, we try to send out at least one or two tweets every day. We have found Twitter to be one of our most useful and followed sources of public information. Because our local media follows Twitter for our most up-to-date information, we have found that they also “favorite” and “retweet” some of our most creative, attractive, and informative tweets. Why is this important? We have a nice, robust public following of our @SanMateoPD Twitter account (over 8,500 followers), but it still pales in comparison to our local news following (local ABC and Fox each have over 100,000 followers, and ABC over 90,000). So - any time we can get our local news partners to recognize our tweets, that’s a huge bonus for our agency. For those reasons – and many others – it is to our great benefit to “curate great content” through Twitter to maximize our exposure to the community. Maximizing exposure translates to more members of our community receiving valu ...

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

PROBLEM SOLVING IN #LESM – FINE-TUNING YOUR GAME PLAN

By Dave Norris

Dave Norris

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

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Cops are natural problem solvers. Flexibility and versatility are a big part of what we do every day, pushing the black & white through our neighborhoods, doing the big things that provide safety and preserve quality of life, and the little things that mean so much and keep our community close. These same functions are performed daily by your social media team (or person), as you push out critical crime and safety alerts, and generate less urgent content that highlights the humanity of your agency and brings you closer to the community you serve. In either case problems arise that require critical thought and decisive action. Sometimes these are quick flashes, and sometimes we need to drill deep into problems to seek sustainable solutions. On the community and media relations side of the business, there are a number of questions that we should be seeking to answer: What is our outline process for quick address of breaking safety issues, and do we have templates in place so that ...

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

In Emergency Operations You Are Now the "Cleanup Hitter": Own It!

By Dave Norris

Dave Norris

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

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Those of you who read this IACP Social Media Beat regularly - and who have established, or are establishing a social media presence in your jurisdictions - have probably noticed something about our public safety culture compared to the rest of our local public organization … We tend to step up when leadership is needed. For perfectly self-serving reasons (think Sir Robert Peel “The Police are the Public and the Public are the Police”), we in the public safety field are likely to have a much more robust and/or advanced community connection through social media than the rest of our public-sector colleagues. With this in mind, I ask you to put yourself in a scenario: STORMWATCH It is that time of year for your organization – whether it is tornado season in the Midwest, hurricane season on the coast, blizzard season in the East, or monsoon season out West … and your local jurisdiction is opening up your local Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to deal ...

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Love It or Hate It – Why the Ice Challenge Trend Was Important in the World of #LESM

By Dave Norris

Dave Norris

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

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Talk about a viral trend that swept the nation … and then some!  Whether in its iteration among Joe and Jane Citizen benefiting ALS and other charities or as a trend in the public safety world benefiting some of our charities, videos of people being splashed, dunked, and dumped with ice water was wildly popular this summer. Nearly every Facebook page in the country was festooned with either the page author or one of their “friends” taking and issuing this challenge. There WERE haters – and yes, this trend did force some to donate, rather than spontaneously give out of the kindness of their own heart … but those who did the videos and issued the challenges genuinely had fun with it. What particularly impressed me, I will tell you, was the pervasive way that this trend spread among our public safety brothers and sisters. I first saw the challenge in early July – my colleague Sergeant Tony Landato of Mesa PD jumped into a tub of ice AND had ice dumpe ...

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

You Can't Schedule a Crisis - But You Can Always Prepare for One!

By Dave Norris

Dave Norris

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

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It could happen in any of our jurisdictions. No matter how hard we train, how much we prepare, critical incidents will happen, and can end in death or serious injury to one or more of the parties involved. Although every incident has its own dynamics, and we cannot prepare for every angle, we should make ourselves as prepared as possible to deal with such circumstances at the media relations level. Get your finger on the pulse of the community as quickly as possible Immediately after a critical incident, as we scramble to make the scene safe and prepare for a complex investigation, the community around us is also springing into action. Most of their communication is now via social media. Your agency’s media relations specialists should be prepared for this, and should immediately start monitoring for related keywords and photos on social media. Any officer involved critical incident is an “all hands on deck” situation, and my advice – if your agency is not large enough to identify ...

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Passing the Torch . . . and Keeping it Lit!

By Dave Norris

Dave Norris

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

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I'm continuing with my ongoing theme of transition planning and implementation, since it serves the multiple purposes of: •    Helping me debrief my four years plus in law enforcement social media •    Memorializing and sharing my lessons learned and vision for the future of law enforcement/community relations •    Maintaining my personally valued connection with both our LESM culture at large and my own agency's community and media relations identity. It has been an incredible ride taking SMPD from "what the heck is Twitter?" to the hand-off of tens of thousands of "community alert" subscribers across multiple media channels to my excited and capable successor. Lesson One: The community really likes and even craves information from its local law enforcement. The connection between law enforcement and community - via social media - IS here to stay. I can confidently say that this sentiment is likely echoed by all the agencies o ...

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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Five Feverish Minutes of Damage Control - Lessons Learned

By Dave Norris

Dave Norris

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

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I got hacked.   Here’s the scenario: This is day one for my replacement in Media Relations – I go back to patrol next week after 4 ½ years as PIO, during an era that saw the birth of social media engagement for SMPD. My successor, Sgt. Rick Decker, is learning an entirely new position that is a hybrid of social and conventional media, among other responsibilities. We are walking to lunch and talking about an article in the SF Examiner that the chief has asked us to tweet. Rick, who is already quite tech-savvy, locates the link in a tweet written by our colleagues at the City Organization. Rick looks at me and says “should I retweet?” I tell him “sure – go ahead!” He looks at me again, tentatively – “just hit retweet?” “Yeah,” I tell him, “just do it!” Five minutes later I feel a buzz on my phone as we eat. I have my phone set up to text me whenever @SanMateoPD tweets, since Twitter’s notifications do ...

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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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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.

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