I think it’s safe to say we always hear when someone is unhappy, something goes wrong or someone thinks something is wrong. But it’s rare when people go out of their way to let us know when something good happens or they think an officer has done well. When someone is fired up about something positive that’s happened, they don’t usually go out of their way to let people know.
Social media is changing that.
It’s never been easier than today to tweet, Facebook, blog, or post a video to YouTube, Vine, or Instagram about how you feel about something. Though this cuts both ways, it’s definitely a positive thing for police agencies looking to engage, communicate, and improve relationships with their communities.
It’s also an important tool that can be used to boost employee morale. For example, every weekday we post an item called Today’s Good News on the Richmond Police Facebook page. We started that posting as a way to bring positive news to our community about the good things that were going on as well as the good work our officers and civilians were doing. We soon realized that our own employees loved it just as much as the community.
Below is one example where an officer friend of mine shared the RPD Good News post on his personal Facebook page and talked about how much it meant to him to receive this public gratitude.
Postings such as Today’s Good News not only give officers a public “Atta boy,” but they also offer their fellow officers, friends, and family members the chance to publicly say thanks and be proud of them. In this line of work, many officers and communications officers may not often talk about their day and what they did because it can be challenging or they need to unwind. These posts give family and friends some insight into what their loved ones do and allow them to show their support.
Another way social media can be used to boost morale and give recognition is when individuals are authorized to tweet on behalf of the department. At Richmond Police, we have 11 authorized officers and civilians with their own RPD Twitter accounts. RPD Human Resources Division Chief Antoinette Archer tweets via @RPDHRChief and below is one example she tweeted on a Saturday after several of her officers and civilians staff spent the day doing recruit testing. Personnel and recruitment detectives don’t often get publicly recognized for the hard work they do because it’s often behind the scenes, but thanks to Ms. Archer’s tweets, they’re starting to.
RPD Lt. Dave Naoroz is another good example of this. Because he works a variety of shifts and knows about the good work many of his officers are doing, he’s able to capture images and tweet about it real time. The below example shows a midnight shift group that otherwise would be rarely seen because they work while most people are sleeping.
These are just a few examples of how agencies can use social media to recognize the good people they have working for them and the great work they’re doing, both for the community’s knowledge and benefit, but also to make sure officers and civilians know they’re doing a good job. The examples and platforms are endless; it’s just a matter of finding the right social media network or style for your agency.