The Social Media Beat

The Social Media Beat

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

New Media in Criminal Justice Education: Perpetually Behind the Curve

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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Jim Reynolds is Academic Program Chair for Online Criminal Justice and Homeland Security at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida.  He retired as a Deputy Chief from the Melbourne Police Department after a 27 year career.  Jim holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Central Florida and is a graduate of the 104th Administrative Officers Course, Southern Police Institute, University of Louisville.  He blogs for his program at http://blogs.fit.edu/blog/category/academics/online-learning/criminal-matters/ and is on Facebook as Jim Reynolds, Florida Tech Community. The last ten years have seen a virtual tsunami of social media and web activity throughout American and international culture.  Law enforcement and other elements of the criminal justice system were as affected as any segment of society, and possibly more.  We have often been slow to respond to this paradigm shift, but our traditionally staid and conservative professio ...

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Monday, August 04, 2014

Tweeting Smart

By IACP Center for Social Media

IACP Center for Social Media

IACP's Center for Social Media is a clearinghouse of information and no-cost resources to help law enforcement use social media.

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Today’s post is courtesy of IACP’s Center for Officer Safety and Wellness. Although social media is beneficial to the law enforcement community in countless ways, its use by community members may also result in unintended, harmful consequences. With the proliferation of smart phones, citizen observers have the capability and right to post photos, updates, and other information about an incident instantaneously, often times before first responders arrive on scene. Law enforcement agencies in the State of Washington see this as a growing concern. A number of Seattle-area agencies are asking civilians to “Tweet Smart” during emergency situations to ensure the safety of first responders. Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste has pointed out the reality that a suspect could be following an incident on social media in real time, which could help him/her escape the scene or provide the opportunity to harm a responding officer by monitoring police movements. What some might see ...

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Passing the Torch . . . and Keeping it Lit!

By Dave Norris

Dave Norris

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

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I'm continuing with my ongoing theme of transition planning and implementation, since it serves the multiple purposes of: •    Helping me debrief my four years plus in law enforcement social media •    Memorializing and sharing my lessons learned and vision for the future of law enforcement/community relations •    Maintaining my personally valued connection with both our LESM culture at large and my own agency's community and media relations identity. It has been an incredible ride taking SMPD from "what the heck is Twitter?" to the hand-off of tens of thousands of "community alert" subscribers across multiple media channels to my excited and capable successor. Lesson One: The community really likes and even craves information from its local law enforcement. The connection between law enforcement and community - via social media - IS here to stay. I can confidently say that this sentiment is likely echoed by all the agencies o ...

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

If You “Do Social,” You Need a Strategy

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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Police departments using social media fall into two broad categories: 1.    Those who use social media to broadcast information. 2.    Those who use social media to broadcast information AND engage with their community by incorporating a department strategy on how best to use social media to reach their community. According to the IACP 2013 Social Media Survey, 95.9% of agencies surveyed use social media in some capacity and of those, the most common use is for criminal investigations (86.1%).  Outside of the survey, my personal experience in speaking with various departments and watching their activity online is that most fall in the first category.  Many want to do more but most of the challenges center around: 1) budgetary constraints of funding a social media manager or 2) finding someone within the organization who has the technical skills, organizational credibility, and trust to speak for the department.  It's no easy task, but if you can get your de ...

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Power of an Ask

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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I'll be honest. Most of our Facebook posts are about positive incidents and officer interactions and not a lot about wanted suspects or surveillance images. The reason behind this is because such posts are not very interesting or “popular” to our Facebook fans, according to our analytics. However, we had a recent incident that we knew would be different and it has really reminded us of the importance of using social media when it comes to the basics of what we do – identifying and finding criminals. The incident began as a traffic stop that turned into a brief pursuit and then a confrontation between our officers and suspects. As our officers approached the suspects’ vehicle, the driver suddenly reversed course and struck two of our officers with his vehicle before fleeing the scene. Thankfully, our officers are OK, and we knew that our community would want to help in any way they could. We also knew that the media and the community would treat finding this suspect different ...

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Creating Value with Video

By Billy Grogan

Billy Grogan

Billy Grogan is the Chief of Police for the Dunwoody Police Department in Georgia. Follow Chief Grogan on Twitter @ChiefGrogan.

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According to a recent study by Nielsen, adults in the United States spend an average of 34 hours per month accessing the Internet from their mobile devices, with five hours and 48 minutes of that time spent watching videos.  In comparison, adults in the United States spend an average of 27 hours accessing the Internet from their home computers with 6 hours and 41 minutes of that time spent watching videos. What does all of this mean?  To put video in perspective, over six billion hours of videos are watched each month on YouTube. Your department needs to tap into this massive market.  Video can be a great way to get the attention of your community and deliver important messages.  You may also be able to reach a different audience than through your usual use of social media.  This topic has been discussed many times on this blog but bears repeating and reminding readers of the value of video. The Hampton Police Department recently produced a video with a message about youth violence ...

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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

From the Streets to The Social Media Beat

By Leon Robertson

Leon Robertson

Officer Leon Robertson is the Social Media Coordinator for the Hampton Police Division in Virginia.

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It’s a huge honor to have the opportunity to blog for the IACP. This is my first official post so I wanted to start off with a short introductory piece about how I came into my current role.   I was born and raised in the city of Hampton and have worked for the Hampton Police Division since 2009. Long before I ever thought about becoming a police officer I have been making short films, designing graphics, and marketing on social media. One of the things about my agency that I always thought we could do better was use the web to interact with the community. Timing is everything and I am usually prone to bad luck, but things seemed to come together in perfect form for me to get the chance to do what my true passion is each day at work. Chief Sult joined the Hampton Police Division in late 2013, and places a high value on using the technological platforms available to enhance our partnerships with the community. This was roughly the same period of time that I was selected to join the Community R ...

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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Five Feverish Minutes of Damage Control - Lessons Learned

By Dave Norris

Dave Norris

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

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I got hacked.   Here’s the scenario: This is day one for my replacement in Media Relations – I go back to patrol next week after 4 ½ years as PIO, during an era that saw the birth of social media engagement for SMPD. My successor, Sgt. Rick Decker, is learning an entirely new position that is a hybrid of social and conventional media, among other responsibilities. We are walking to lunch and talking about an article in the SF Examiner that the chief has asked us to tweet. Rick, who is already quite tech-savvy, locates the link in a tweet written by our colleagues at the City Organization. Rick looks at me and says “should I retweet?” I tell him “sure – go ahead!” He looks at me again, tentatively – “just hit retweet?” “Yeah,” I tell him, “just do it!” Five minutes later I feel a buzz on my phone as we eat. I have my phone set up to text me whenever @SanMateoPD tweets, since Twitter’s notifications do ...

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Trust, Do You Have It?

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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In my last blog post on using digital media channels during crisis communications, I discussed the following takeaways: * Tweet early, tweet often, and tweet relevant * Be the source of content and information * Identify and create a hashtag for the event * Engage and answer questions, when possible I didn’t realize it at the time, but I left off a very important aspect of crisis communications.  A PIO from a neighboring agency contacted me shortly after IACP published the post and gave me some honest feedback on how I had missed the mark (and he was totally right).  In his words, “From reading your IACP post, one might think that having a Twitter account is the key to all this [crisis communications].  I think the tools are really secondary.  One thing that you don’t talk about much and seem to take for granted is the high quality and speed of information flowing from the field to Shino [MVPD social media coordinator] and vice versa.” He could not have ...

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Mighty QR Code

By Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows is a recently retired sergeant with 25 years of law enforcement experience.

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The mighty QR code? “Burrows has lost his marbles!” Well, that very well might be true but I’m serious…the mighty QR code.  Please tell me anything else in the world of marketing and information sharing that is more mysterious? A little square of black and white that can hold a virtual multimedia smorgasbord of creativity and content.  Scan the matrix with your mobile device and who knows what wonders you are in store for…and therein lies the problem. When QR codes went from the parts warehouse to the advertising agency someone got them really screwed up. QR codes on billboards, in subway tunnels beyond the 3rd rail, using them in digital platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.  Seriously, how did the mighty QR code stand a fighting chance when the simplicity of it got destroyed with stupidity? That is second reason that QR codes got a bad rap. People pointed the QR code at a website or location that shared no more information than the QR code itse ...

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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.

Leon Robertson

Officer Leon Robertson is the Social Media Coordinator for the Hampton Police Division. Robertson has developed internationally recognized public safety messages, including the Jingle Bells “Holiday Safety Remix” in December 2013. He has extensive experience in graphic design, video & audio production, and managing various social media platforms. You can follow Officer Robertson’s efforts with the Hampton Police Division on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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 was a sworn police officer for 25 years with experience in front line operations, primary response, traffic, detective operations, and supervision. He has training in a broad spectrum of policing responsibilities including IMS, Emergency Management, computer assisted technology investigations, leadership, community policing, and crisis communications. Tim left policing but has remained involved through consulting with law enforcement on the advancement of communications and social media. Tim runs #CopChat on Wednesday nights at 9pm ET, to allow police and community members to connect and break down barriers. To learn more about him you can follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook or click here to contact him http://bit.ly/ContactTimBurrows

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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