The Social Media Beat

The Social Media Beat

Thursday, May 15, 2014

What’s in a Hashtag?

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.

Read Full Bio…

Hashtag. A word or phrase with the # sign in front of it that helps those on social media follow trending topics.  The question is, should law enforcement use hashtags?  It’s a debate I’ve heard discussed and have discussed with others.  Honestly, like everything else, it really depends on the situation, the agency, and the purpose. Let’s get the easy one out of the way.  If there is a large scale event, incident, or case you are posting about then it makes sense to use a hashtag.  We have seen it done with tragedies like large scale shootings.  The U.S. Navy used it during the Navy Yard shooting to keep everyone updated.  But if you have a local event, is it necessary?  Many times hashtags are so story specific it only relates to your story or post and has no bearing on anyone else. Also, hashtags can have the ability to draw attention to your agency in a way that is not always flattering.   For the most part, we use hashtags sparingly.&nbs ...

Read the rest of entry »

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Don’t Be “More Human”

By Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows

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

Read Full Bio…

Eyes, ears, arms, legs, torso.  Brain, heart, central nervous system, lungs. Senses, emotions, thoughts, voice. I have just described in very basic biological terms the characteristics and make up of a human being. You are a human being. End of story. This is a fact that just simply can’t be argued, yet one of the most common criticisms I hear about police officers and law enforcement organizations in the social space is that they need to be, “more human.” How can one be more human than what they are? You either are or you are not a human. One cannot be more or less of a human. So it is completely understandable why this is a continuing complaint about agencies. How do you fix a problem that can’t be fixed? You change the words. When I’ve asked what people mean when they say, “You need to be more human,” I often am met with a perplexed look.  Then the responses come through. •    Talk normally •    Don& ...

Read the rest of entry »

Friday, May 09, 2014

Working Together: Creating the Virginia Law Enforcement Social Media Group

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.

Read Full Bio…

In this space, you read volumes of good information from several talented and diverse law enforcement individuals about all the best ways to make social media work for your agency. The only thing better than that is experiencing and learning the information in person with a group of like-minded professionals. To that end, Richmond PD just partnered with the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police to launch the Virginia Law Enforcement Social Media Group. The goal is to have quarterly meetings across the state as well as a smaller, planning committee that talks monthly to plan a diverse agenda. Creating this group has been a personal goal of mine ever since I first heard about the Bay Area Law Enforcement Social Media Group (BALESMG), created by the Redwood City and Fremont Police Departments. The idea of law enforcement agencies not just considering using social media, but actually embracing it so much so that they get together to brainstorm ideas, discuss issues and experiences, and strategize w ...

Read the rest of entry »

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Transition and Succession Planning for #LESM – Your Community Expects Continuity!

By Dave Norris

Dave Norris

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

Read Full Bio…

My colleagues and I have spoken extensively in The Social Media Beat about community engagement, the quality of our output, and developing growth internally and externally within our agencies. When I was asked to incorporate public information as a collateral position to my other duties in 2011, social media was still a question mark in the eyes of most of the law enforcement community. It is now a question mark if agencies aren’t incorporating social media into their messaging strategy. As we have seen over the past couple of years, not only does our community like our engagement in social media, they and the conventional media outlets have come to EXPECT quality output from us as one of their primary sources of this type of communication. It is very safe to say that the face of the law enforcement PIO has changed permanently.   Like many of my colleagues in this business I am assigned as a PIO (as part of my specialty) for a four-year rotation – BUT, due mainly to the recent explosion of ...

Read the rest of entry »

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Marketing Lessons from the Private Sector

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.

Read Full Bio…

I recently attended an event hosted by Twitter and Hootsuite called “Igniting Your Marketing Success on Twitter” (#IgniteMktgSuccess) where experts from both companies gave advice to small and medium-sized business owners on how to best leverage digital media tools for marketing success. Marketing?  What does marketing have to do with police departments?  A lot.  Granted, police departments are not businesses but we do offer a product and we have no shortage of customers.  Our product is our service.  Our customers are our residents, businesses, and civic groups.  Once you make that connection, you realize how important it is to learn how the private sector communicates with their customers using digital media and how law enforcement stands to benefit.  Remember this corollary as you read on. Many small to medium-sized businesses have limited staffing and few resources to dedicate towards social media.  Sound familiar?  It should.  Mo ...

Read the rest of entry »

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Back to Boston

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.

Read Full Bio…

This week marks the 118th running of the Boston Marathon and a fine time to reflect upon the lessons learned from the Boston Police Department (BPD) during last year’s tragic bombing. The bloggers of IACP’s Center for Social Media, among others, wrote extensively about that event last year from a variety of angles. The Boston Terrorist Attack and the Use of Social Media Boston Police Schooled Us All on How to Use Social Media More Lessons from Boston The Importance of Rumor Control on Social Media Earlier this month, the Harvard Kennedy School published a new report, “Social Media and Police Leadership: Lessons from Boston,” as part of its New Perspectives in Policing Series. The report notes three characteristics of social media with implications for law enforcement, and the challenges and opportunities that result: Scope: In a nutshell, tons of people, both young and old, spend tons of time on social media – both at home and at work. Structure: Social media is ...

Read the rest of entry »

Friday, April 18, 2014

Cross Populating Content

By Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows

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

Read Full Bio…

Time. It’s something that we all struggle with on a daily basis. The demands of publishing content, creating content, sharing content not to mention what our supervisors, public, and partners need done. Each of us is blessed with twenty-four hours in which to accomplish many tasks.  Finding efficiencies can allow for great savings of time to dedicate somewhere else. With some very simple clicks and set ups we can make our work of sharing information very simple, efficient, and downright ugly! Integration between social media platforms exists to allow for simple and instant sharing which seems like a great idea for saving time so many people take advantage of the one click share. Got a great picture to share on Instagram? Easy, click on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, and Flickr. Voila! One picture, 5 posts. That is great time management but what is the cost? Authenticity, care, and quality content all take a back seat to your great time management. Each platform that we engage ...

Read the rest of entry »

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Using Social Media to Boost Employee Morale

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.

Read Full Bio…

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 a ...

Read the rest of entry »

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Use of Back-Channel Communications to Maximize Community Messaging Impact and Integrity

By Dave Norris

Dave Norris

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

Read Full Bio…

Internal Organic Growth Update In my blog last month, I wrote about “organic growth” in your agency, and I wanted to open this month’s blog by sharing one of those spontaneous moments… One of our sergeants in patrol is an off-duty Facebook maven, to whom I have given some SMPD Facebook admin permissions (use the experts you have!). Sgt. Maravillas told me about a community member who called the sergeant’s desk just to thank SMPD for our community engagement – this mom follows our alerts and updates, and wanted us to know how safe our outreach makes her family feel. She wanted to bring in cookies for Sgt. Maravillas’ team. A “smart cookie” herself, Sgt. Maravillas said “why don’t you and the kids just come to lineup, and tell my team in person how you feel about SMPD?” This guest speaker at swing-shift lineup told our troops all about how they appreciate social media updates, and how the information from SMPD makes them feel info ...

Read the rest of entry »

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Is Your Social Media Engagement Too Passive?

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.

Read Full Bio…

This is a question many departments fail to ask themselves. What this question is really trying to find out is if your department is adequately engaged on social media. Does your department allow comments? Do you respond to those comments when appropriate? A great percentage of law enforcement agencies report they are actively using social media. However, are they effectively using social media? That is the question. In too many cases, the department sets up a Facebook, Twitter, or other social media account, posts occasionally and that is where their interaction ends. If this is how your department uses social media, you are missing out on potentially the most valuable benefit of using social media, which is the relationship you nurture, build upon, and strengthen in your community.There is no easy formula or guide an agency can follow to make sure they are properly engaged since each department and each community is different. However, there a few simple guidelines that will help.The first is to al ...

Read the rest of entry »

Text/HTML

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.

Search this blog

Search

View Posts

By Date

By Author

By Tag

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.

Created by Matrix Group International, Inc.