got me thinking about the further benefits of sharing insight about your department, particularly recruitment and training efforts. While such activities are a great way to educate and engage with the community, they can also pay dividends in your hiring efforts. You never know, your next recruit might be reading that blog.
Blogs are free to set up. Blogger, LiveJournal, and WordPress are popular providers. Sites are ready-made with customizable templates and color schemes. Minimal techno-savvy is required. For fact sheets and case studies on blogging for law enforcement, check out the IACP Center for Social Media
Following new recruits through a blog is a tactic several departments are using. Lincoln, Nebraska
is a good one. Oklahoma City
is another. See also the IACP's case study
on the Houston Police Department's success blogging for recruitment.
Virginia State Police
, as Dionne noted, offers another fine example. What's unique about VSP is that they're blogging through Facebook, using the built-in notes feature rather than using an independent blog platform. This technique saves the trouble of maintaining a separate blog. Plus, every note they post is distributed to their 24,000 Facebook fans. Notes also show up as results in search engine queries.
You may be thinking, who has the time to blog?! If, like many departments, you're short staffed and lack the luxury of a full time PIO, consider putting your officers (or recruits) to work on a rotating basis. Who better to tell the story of your department than the officers themselves! Two hundred words about their experiences on any given day is a snap for anyone accustomed to writing detailed crime incident narratives. And what a great way to give prospective applicants insight into what it's really like on the street!