Richmond Police Sector Lt. David Naoroz has been using social media in his personal life for a while now so it was only a matter of time before he began using professionally.
Richmond Police PIO and fellow social media nerd Dionne Waugh quizzed him about the details to find out what he hopes to accomplish; what he’s learned so far; and the advice he would give to other sworn officers.
Why did you want to communicate with your community via Twitter and Foursquare?
After the department moved to sector policing, I was assigned to the police academy and started attending community meetings that were held at the academy. I have been a resident of the City of Richmond longer than I had worked for the department so I have been attending community meetings that impacted the area where I both worked and lived for years. Much of the information given out at these meetings was relevant, but I thought there must be a better way to get the ever changing and developing “word” out to the people.
As I moved on and out of the academy I saw that communications with others – business owners, citizens, and stakeholders – was essential. Our world of policing is not alone on an island although, many in policing see it that way. In actuality they create their own island, often by limiting their exposure. In my view it goes something like this: nothing is more important than communication. There are some things that will not be communicated in “real time” for obvious reasons but there is much information that can be relayed, exchanged, discussed, and shared. For that reason Twitter seemed to make the most sense to me. The ability for individuals to go to a page and read a single tweet that is helpful or informative is powerful. Having the ability to read a week’s worth of information or partake in discussions on resources, idea exchanges, shared strategies, and tips is not only powerful but it opens up endless resources.
The idea of Foursquare didn’t really hit me until I saw how others in law enforcement used it. The secretive life of a police officer is not really all that secretive. No person I know is going to force a plainclothes officer who is supposed to be covert to ‘check-in’ at work or the target location. For me, I can show folks where I go on a daily basis, who I meet with, and what is in and around our police buildings that might be helpful to them. Foursquare is a great partner to Twitter. I can link my check-ins to the Twitter account and add what I think is useful information. It also adds a bit of personality to the account. Much of what I will tweet is serious and work related but at the same time both of these platforms let your followers see a person as well – a professional that is more than a badge.
How long have you been doing it and what has the experience been like so far?
I have tweeted “officially” since December 27, 2012. It has been a goal of mine for some time, and it took a while for me to feel comfortable enough to finally submit my request. Since that point I love it! One can really just be entertained but on a law enforcement officer level there is so much out there to learn and absorb!