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. View Part I of the conversation here
What has surprised you about the experience?
My biggest surprise came a few weeks ago at a community meeting. The attendance at this particular meeting was low, maybe six people. The folks attending were my regulars and had heard my communication pitch before but it wasn’t going to stop me. So, I did a quick smartphone Twitter demo and showed them some other neighborhood groups in and around the city, some with 2,000 plus followers and their eyes lit up! About 10 minutes later the group president looked at me and asked me how much Twitter cost. Suffice to say, some groups are going to take more work than others—and that’s OK! My laptop is coming with me to the next meeting.
Another surprise is the reaction of my peers. One would think I was adding additional workload to our job description. In the early stages, as I am now, that might be somewhat true. But it does get easier. I truly believe that the more the community is exposed to social media the more they are going to expect their professionals to do the same. The sooner one can get a foothold – an understanding of platforms like Twitter – the more capital that person will have in the future. Basically, you are contributing to your brand image. A big point here: not only do you increase your communication footprint, you basically are communicating on behalf of your department and contributing to your department’s image as well as the profession.
What are you upcoming goals for your social media use?
My biggest goal for social media use is to increase my followers in my sector so I can have another venue of communication. Our precincts are broken up into three sectors, my sector is a mix of business, mainly industrial, and lower to middle class residential. During my promotional interviews for lieutenant I stated one of my goals was to introduce social media on a sector level as a means of communication. When thinking about that initially, I considered my own neighborhood, university areas, downtown businesses, and even the restaurant and bar areas because these places were already involved in social media and had an established presence. They had the individuals that were already “connected” so I wanted to get idea about how I could do the same with my community.
When I initially brought up the idea, my commander was very supportive and the department has been nothing but encouraging. With many folks using their smartphones for almost everything nowadays, the access and availability of computers and social media is practically everywhere.
What advice would you give to other sworn officers who are considering doing the same thing?
1. Sign up. Log on. Get to it! The sooner one can get plugged in the better. Even if you are just watching you can learn.
2. Understand your department policy. The best example of a social media policy for law enforcement officers that I have heard so far? The law enforcement code of ethics.
3. Have a plan. If I was to do it again, I would have a community education handout available for all of my community groups. Show them what you’re doing. Bring in an expert from your PIO unit.
4. Install a filter. Yes, Twitter limits you to 140 characters but you should be the one who posts with intelligence. Verify (read it over) twice, tweet once.
You can find Lt. Naoroz on Foursquare by the name RPDLtDave
and follow him on Twitter at @RPDLtDave