One of my close friends within our department recently took command of a newly formed unit, a hybrid of our old narcotics/vice and gang units now focused on hot-spot policing with a fantastic mission and energy. I have been asking him to help me write up a profile of the Crime Reduction Unit for our Facebook
page and SanMateoPD
blog for a few months to replace the write-ups on the previous units, but he's been busy, and I've been busy... you know how it goes.
So last month, the CRU made a huge seizure of suspected stolen bikes. One of our young and energetic CRU officers teamed up with a social-savvy community service officer and took on our department Pinterest
page, which I had registered but not yet started using. They created a board for the bikes, and got some calls after we pushed the information out via Facebook and Twitter.
My buddy, the CRU Lieutenant calls me: "Dude - I'm checking out the Pinterest page and it's great - You know, we could do a whole profile page on here about CRU, our mission, what we're doing..." I smile over the phone – “Haven’t we been talking about that for months?" I quietly ask myself...
As I mentioned in my blog last month, many, many law enforcement agencies are well into their social media strategy, and still gathering forward momentum. But, even at this point, we all have some similar problems continuing to drag along with us as we forge ahead into Community Policing 2.0.
Many of you will nod your heads when I talk about the polarization within the police culture when it comes to social media. For some of our tech-savvy personnel, "social" as it is now called is second-nature, while for many of our veteran personnel and "old-school" folks, this is just another way we are putting "too much" information "out there," and our suspects are going to flee the country, torch their getaway cars, and toss out valuable evidence because we are "giving up" our cases to the public.
Those of you who have fought to try to integrate social media into police culture know that this can be an uphill battle - I think it's safe to say that we cops can be a stubborn lot. But any cop who has had that moment when they discovered their perfect handcuffing technique, or the sweet spot in their interview style will also agree that we cops know a good thing when we find it. This is the lesson we need to take as social media managers when we find some positive internal energy or a great arrest "win." Those are the moments we need to seize and push our social media momentum within our agency's culture.
I know I keep saying the “S” word in these blogs, but sustainability is a BIG deal as we rotate our PIOs, promote new supervisors on the street, and graduate new command staff. We NEED the buy in and cultural infusion for social media to be sustainable.
CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESSES
ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR CONTRIBUTING STAFF
RECRUIT AND INVOLVE YOUR “HARD CHARGERS” AS AMBASSADORS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA
“Carpe Diem” – Seize the day – seize the moment – seize the opportunity. Build a social media culture.