Today's guest blog post comes from Sarah Boyd, public relations specialist with the Kansas City, Missouri Police, Department. In her five years with the department, she has implemented and managed most of KCPD's social media accounts and strategy. She previously worked as a newspaper reporter covering crime, courts, and schools. She can be contacted at email@example.com or 816-889-6133.
In early 2012, I heard more and more of my friends talking about Pinterest. I didn't use it personally, and I didn't think it was a viable platform for a law enforcement agency. The U.S. Army
changed my mind. I saw how they were using Pinterest to tell their story and target an audience they otherwise may have missed, and I believed it was something Kansas City Police could do, too. It also was becoming too big to ignore. Pinterest now is the 16th most popular Web site in the United States, according to AppAppeal.com
Law enforcement, like the military, is majority male. Combined with their duties enforcing laws, this can make police officers seem intimidating and not relatable, especially for women. In the United States, more than 80 percent of Pinterest users are women, so it seemed the perfect opportunity to bridge the gap between police and women in the community.
My coworker, Lynsay Holst, and I could find no other police departments in the United States on Pinterest, so we built from the ground up (with some inspiration from the U.S. Army). Pinterest turned out to be an excellent opportunity to showcase some of the thousands of photos we take each year and show the many different facets of the KCPD. Some boards are meant specifically to inspire and help women, like "Women Police Officers" and "Facing Serious Issues" which features tips on what to do in situations like domestic violence. Other boards seek to humanize the department and make police relatable - like "KCPD Fuzzy Friends" (featuring police horses, dogs and even a cat) and "Back in the Day" (historical photos).
Pinterest also has been a great place to share crime prevention tips and educate the public - especially moms - about everything from home safety to what illegal drugs look like, should they spot them in their children's rooms.
The vast majority of photos and content on the Kansas City Police Pinterest page
are original, and we welcome other users to "repin" it without fear of copyright violations. The whole goal of our Pinterest page, after all, is to make police approachable and someone users can trust.