The Social Media Beat

The Social Media Beat

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Planning Posts with a Content Calendar

By Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows is a sergeant with the Toronto Police Service.

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One thing I always get a kick out of seeing online is when a corporate account makes a post to social media that starts something like this, “Happening Now” or ”Join us later today” or “Today kicks off the beginning of.” Now I’m not talking about breaking news, an incident, or a press conference. I expect all of those things to be short notice events.  I’m talking about an agency campaign, community meeting, or preplanned event of any type.  You know, something like a week-long pedestrian safety campaign, or national distracted driving awareness campaign. Events that are planned, historic, and on the radar of your agency for a long time are things that you should be planning for your social media posts well in advance. Sometimes we get so caught up in the immediacy of social media that we can forget that you can prepare to post information days, weeks, or months in advance.  Another problem we often encounter is we run out of steam in a hur ...

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Social Media Managers - Don’t Forget the Dispatchers

By Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger

The Social Media Beat periodically features guest bloggers who share their perspective on the topic of social media and law enforcement.

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  About The Author   Officer Mike Bires has been a police officer   for over 20 years in Southern California.   Along with working assignments in   corrections, SWAT, bike patrol, and as a   field training officer, Mike is currently a   university resource officer assigned to a   large university. Having a background in   website design and development, Mike is on   his department’s social media team and the developer of the department’s website. He is an active member of the San Gabriel Valley Law Enforcement Social Media Group. Social media managers can get valuable recommendations and feedback from your department’s customer service agents - the dispatchers. How our social media and website efforts will affect a certain division or section within our department is one of the first points we evaluate and consider when implementing something new on our website or in our social media program. Being that s ...

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

When You Least Expect It, Expect It – Organic Growth & Internal Appeal, and Seizing the Opportunity

By Dave Norris

Dave Norris

Dave Norris is a sergeant with San Mateo, California, Police Department.

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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 ...

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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Building Your Leadership Brand through Twitter

By Chris Hsiung

Chris Hsiung

Captain Chris Hsiung commands the Field Operations Division at the Mountain View Police Department in California. You can follow him on Twitter @chMtnViewPD.

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To all police chiefs and command staff members, this blog post is for you: Chances are, if you’re reading this blog your department already has an official Twitter account and is using it to interact and engage with your community.  Why, then, should chiefs and command staff go through the trouble of creating individual professional Twitter accounts? What would we talk (or tweet) about and why does it matter?  Sure, the obvious reason is to interact with your community, stakeholders, and constituents on a more personal level.  Doing so is a great use of Twitter and makes you more transparent to your community.  But there’s more… First, let’s reframe this discussion.  As leaders of police agencies, we attend countless numbers of award ceremonies, community luncheons, and public events.  In each of these venues, we interact and network with a variety of stakeholders from our community and are always conscientious of representing our departments and ou ...

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Keeping it Real

By Mark Economou

Mark Economou

Mark is the Public Information Officer for the Boca Raton Police Department in Boca Raton, Florida. Follow Mark on Twitter @BocaPolice.

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I recently attended a statewide PIO conference here in the state of Florida.  It amazes me to see how things have changed in a short five years.  Just five years ago, the few of us integrating social media into law enforcement were being looked at funny.  Why would we want to get into social media?  Why would we want to respond to everyone’s questions?  Why would we want to tell people everything going on?   At this conference there were 200 PIOs from all over the state of Florida and during the entire day not one of those questions came up.  Instead, everyone gave examples of recent events where they had to take to social media.  From a movie theater shooting to the recent Justin Bieber arrest in South Florida, everyone spoke about how they used social media in their situation. It brings me to what the public expects and what we are expected to give them.  Just yesterday we had a residential burglary where the victim was in the house when two individua ...

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Blogging for Recruits

By Tracy Phillips

Tracy Phillips

Tracy, an IACP Senior Project Specialist, is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of IACP's recruitment initiative, Discover Policing.

Want to hear more from Tracy Phillips? Follow her and the Discover Policing team on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Inside Discover Policing blog.

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Last month I explored Facebook pages dedicated to recruitment. This month, we’ll take a look at blogs devoted to the same task.  These two approaches have similar benefits. Namely, the option for readers to comment on a post and ask questions.   Answering commonly asked questions in a public forum can help recruiters save time. You may be asking, “Why do I need a recruitment blog when I already have a website or webpage that focuses on recruitment?”  Good question. Dedicated recruitment websites or webpages certainly are fine but they don’t offer the flexibility of a blog. With a blog YOU create and upload the content and the images, and visitors can comment on your posts. With a website, (typically) you have to go through a web developer to edit or update the content. Blogs offer a platform for current content and routine updates. If you don’t have that, or have the time to create it, and you’re fine with the static nature of a website/page, there&rs ...

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Branding the Social Badge

By Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows is a sergeant with the Toronto Police Service.

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In the world of business, this type of branding on a social media account is an absolute nightmare and I don’t mean having your account hacked.   What I mean is the absolutely confusing image that is created when the brand, the message, and the strategy are all just one giant mess. There are so many police and law enforcement agencies that are entering the social media field now. A few years ago, there were just a handful of forward thinking agencies and now there are thousands of agencies and officers that are spreading the message of safety, security, and service. One of the challenges that this creates for agencies is the naming of their accounts and the strategy behind those accounts messaging. Here is where the illustration above comes into focus for police. Branding. So many agencies are missing the awesome opportunity to share their image both figuratively and realistically.  While others have done a masterful job of this. John Michael Morgan, author of “Br ...

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

RPD Loves Animals & Good Police Stories – And So Does the Rest of the World

By Dionne Waugh

Dionne Waugh

Dionne Waugh is a member of the Richmond Police Department's Public Affairs Unit in Richmond, Virginia. Follow Dionne on Twitter @RichmondPolice.

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At this point in the social media game, most people know that photos of animals are pretty popular. From police agencies’ K-9 units to mounted squads to animal rescues, it’s clear that the people love animal postings. But a recent Facebook project of ours just blew us away by showing us how MUCH the whole world loves both animal postings AND good police stories when it made two of our posts go viral. That project (and Facebook photo album) was called “RPD Loves Animals.” The main reason we did this project was to showcase how much animals teach us and how those experiences make our officers better people and subsequently better officers. I think a lot of the times when people hear about police and animals, it involves an officer shooting a dog, but not this time. This time we profiled six officers who have a variety of interesting animals or animal experiences and what it has taught them. Some examples included an officer who takes the time to volunteer at the city animal she ...

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Complaints, Complaints – Two Old Kinds of Complaints Providing New Dilemmas in Social Media

By Dave Norris

Dave Norris

Dave Norris is a sergeant with San Mateo, California, Police Department.

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I think about complaints as they relate to our law enforcement profession in two different strains – there are the complaints that we hear from the public that challenge us as an agency to do differently, better, or to refer the complainants under certain circumstances to the right agency for proper action. Then there are complaints – the not so “challenging” kind – dealing with the performance of our personnel, and requiring either an explanation if the answer is procedural, or an investigation/officer counseling session if there is an officer to be held accountable.   Last week, Captain Chris Hsiung addressed the good stuff on the inside, and truthfully, we should be thankful that there are more complimentary comments coming our way that we can share with the troops than negative ones. Hopefully I don’t sound like “Davey-downer” after that inspiring blog, but indulge me as I address a similarly important topic that addresses the side that many of us dre ...

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Friday, February 07, 2014

Social Media: More than Just a Tool

By Chris Hsiung

Chris Hsiung

Captain Chris Hsiung commands the Field Operations Division at the Mountain View Police Department in California. You can follow him on Twitter @chMtnViewPD.

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Does your agency deploy social media as a communication tool used by a select few or is it a philosophy that is embraced in your organization from the top down?  As a tool, there’s no question social media has become a “game changing” method for reaching our communities. However, the use of social media has far greater potential and dividends in an organization when thought of and instilled as a department philosophy. When the Mountain View Police Department (CA) first started actively using social media in the summer of 2012, we viewed it as a tool that had great potential in reaching our tech savvy community.  Content management and day-to-day posts were managed by one person but the rest of the department (patrol, detectives, records, and dispatch) continued on, independent of the mission and goals of the social media unit.  Fast forward a few months later and the department made the strategic decision to shift to a social media "philosophy" that touched every work unit ...

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About This Blog

So you have found, or perhaps stumbled upon, The Social Media Beat, the blog for the IACP Center for Social Media Web site. The Social Media Beat is about three things: social media, law enforcement, and perspective. Here you will find a fresh outlook on the issues that are affecting law enforcement agencies and their personnel when it comes to social media.

Social media is taking the world by storm. Social networks, blogs, photo and video sharing sites, and virtual communities are changing the way people live, work, and play. These tools present unique opportunities as well as challenges to the law enforcement community.  The Social Media Beat brings together a team of bloggers who will speak directly to you about hot topics and current issues.

Bloggers include IACP staff and practitioners in the field who can provide a unique front-line perspective. Our team cares about social media and wants to ensure that law enforcement across the country are knowledgeable and well-equipped to incorporate this technology.

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About the Authors

Dionne Waugh

Dionne Waugh is the social media guru for the Richmond Police Department. As a member of the Department's Public Affairs Unit since September 2008, she created and developed the agency's successful use of social media and continues to try and find new ways to improve the way Richmond Police communicate online. She has spoken about law enforcement and social media at more than a dozen conferences across the country in addition to the past four IACP annual conferences. Waugh is a former newspaper reporter who wrote about crime, police, and the court system for six years. That experience and an ingrained curiosity for what makes people tick has fueled her desire to improve communication between people. Follow Dionne on Twitter @RichmondPolice.

IACP Center for Social Media

IACP's Center for Social Media serves as a clearinghouse of information and no-cost resources to help law enforcement personnel to develop or enhance their agency's use of social media and integrate Web 2.0 tools into agency operations. The Center is funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

Tracy Phillips

Tracy is a Senior Project Specialist with the IACP. She is responsible for managing the day-to-day operation of the DiscoverPolicing.org Web site and coordinating the site's social networking plan. In addition, Ms. Phillips provides writing, editorial, and technical assistance on a variety of association projects and activities, including police management studies, job analyses, executives searches, federal grants, and various research projects and proposals. She has more than 10 years of experience in state and local government, including work as a management analyst, performance auditor, and crime analyst. Ms. Phillips holds a master's degree in public administration from the University of Georgia and a bachelor's from Clemson University.

Want to hear more from Tracy Phillips? Follow her and the Discover Policing team on TwitterFacebook, and on the Inside Discover Policing blog. You can also network with other police recruitment professionals in the Law Enforcement Recruitment LinkedIn group.

Dave Norris

Sergeant Dave Norris is a 21 year veteran of the City of San Mateo Police Department. He has worked in a number of positions including Juvenile Detective, Field Training Officer, Narcotics Detective, and Patrol Supervisor. Dave is currently assigned to Community and Media Relations and oversees day-to-day functions that involve the relationship between the police, the community, and the media. Dave is dedicated to the increase of community engagement through the use of social media. Under his management, San Mateo PD's direct subscribers to community alerts and public safety messaging has grown from several hundred to over 22,000.

Chris Hsiung

Captain Chris Hsiung commands the Field Operations Division at the Mountain View Police Department in California. Through the department Community Action and Information Unit (CAIU), he manages strategy, community engagement, and growth through the police department social media channels. Chris has been serving the Mountain View community for over 19 years and has held a variety of assignments within MVPD. These include detective assignments in Property Crimes, Person Crimes, and High Tech Crimes as well as collateral assignments on SWAT and the Field Evidence Team. He also serves on the planning committee for the Bay Area Law Enforcement Social Media Group (BALESMG). You can follow him on Twitter @chMtnViewPD.

Lynn Hightower

Lynn is the Communications Director and Public Information Officer for the Boise Police Department and has served in that role since October, 2003. Lynn also serves at the PIO for the Boise Fire Department. Lynn authors and manages the social media outreach for Boise Police and often acts as media spokesperson. She advises officers from patrol to command staff on media and public communications skills. Lynn joined the Boise Police Department after 17 years as a television reporter, producer, anchor, and news director. Lynn regularly instructs new officers at the Boise Police Academy and has given media and public communications presentations to dozens of federal, state, and local emergency responder agencies. Follow Lynn and Boise Police on Twitter @BoisePD.

Billy Grogan

Billy Grogan is the Chief of Police for the Dunwoody Police Department in Georgia. Chief Grogan was hired on December 17, 2008, after serving 28 years with the Marietta, Georgia, Police Department, to start a brand new department. On April 1, 2009, the Dunwoody Police Department began operations with 40 sworn officers and eight civilians providing police services to the 47,000+ residents of the City of Dunwoody. Chief Grogan embraced the use of social media from day one of operations. The Dunwoody Police Department began using Twitter the first day and has added Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Vine to their arsenal since then as effective tools to market their department and engage their community. Chief Grogan has written about the benefits of law enforcements use of social media, participated in several social media focus groups and lectured at the IACP, Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police Conference, COPS Conference, and many other venues. Follow Chief Grogan on Twitter @ChiefGrogan and the Dunwoody Police Department @DunwoodyPolice.

Mark Economou

Mark Economou is the Public Information Officer for the Boca Raton Police Department in Boca Raton, Florida. His media and public relations background spans nearly 20 years. Spending nearly 15 years in radio and television news, Economou held many positions from assignment editor, reporter, anchor, and executive editor. After that, he served as the Director of Media Relations for Cote & D'Ambrosio, a Public Relations, Marketing and Advertising firm in Wickford, RI. He then served as head of Media Relations for Citizens Bank of Rhode Island, the 9th largest bank in the United States. Follow Mark on Twitter @BocaPolice.

Frank Domizio

Corporal Frank Domizio has been with the Philadelphia Police Department since 1997. He is currently assigned to the FBI’s Regional Computer Forensics Lab as a Forensic Examiner. Previously he was assigned to the Department's Office of Media Relations and Public Affairs where he was the Social and Digital Media Manager. Frank has spoke at several industry conferences and major universities on the topics of social media and content strategy.

Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows is a Sergeant with the Toronto Police - Traffic Services Unit. His primary role is the supervisor for strategic communications and media relations related to traffic issues within the geographical boundaries of Toronto. Tim was appointed to the Traffic Services Communications Office in 2008 with the mandate to raise the profile of traffic issues within the mindset of the general public. In an effort to enhance traffic safety and to control the timing and full scope of messaging, he has developed a targeted information stream using social media to expand the Toronto Police Service span of influence within the Toronto community and beyond with the goal of reducing collisions, injury, and death in Toronto. Using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Blogs, Tim has pushed information about traffic safety to the citizens of Toronto and has opened the lines of communication to allow for collaborative efforts with community groups, road users, and individuals.

Guest Blogger

The Social Media Beat periodically features guest bloggers who share their perspective on the topic of social media and law enforcement. These individuals are law enforcement professionals; sworn and civilian personnel from agencies of all types and sizes throughout the world. If you are interested in guest blogging, please send your request to socialmedia@theiacp.org. All bloggers must be affiliated with a law enforcement agency or educational institution. We cannot accept blog entries from vendors or others working in a for-profit capacity.

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