Tag Archives: Twitter

Ferguson & Public Engagement | What are they good for?

media

What’s the best time to plant a tree?

- 30 years ago.

What’s the next best time to plant a tree?

- Today

In general, law enforcement has made for horrible horticulturalists. We’ve not tilled the soil of community engagement as a practice. Now we wonder why no one understands us.

When an incident like Ferguson erupts, the pundits hurry to fend off allegations from a civilian population incessantly asking for answers. I’ve had so many tell how they’ve unfriended people on social media streams because of the content post-grand jury decision.

When a public service organization adopts a “No Comment” paradigm over the course of a few centuries, is it any wonder why questions and misinformation arises during societal flash points. While operational confidentiality is vital to an agency’s mission, the majority of daily operations and information processed by law enforcement fail to meet the level of classified materials.

Social media allows public agencies an opportunity to manage their own message. If an agency fails or refuses to engage in the often free mediums available for informing people, then they should expect to face the accusations of pent up frustrations.

This is a great opportunity for Chiefs and Sheriff’s to re-examine their public relations practices. It has to be more substantial than a few handshakes with kids at the high school ball game. An ongoing, open dialogue with the community we swore to serve builds bridges and breaks down walls.

A few suggestions:

  1. Balance the “official” tone of agency social media accounts. If you want the public to relate to the humanity of your officers, then present them as such.
  2. Not every public event has to be public. People distinguish “photo ops” from sincere neighborhood engagements.
  3. Proactively pursue the media for establishing mutual credibility. Yes, mutual.
  4. Ensure the designated “Voice and Face” of your agency is representative not only of the community, but of the vision and ideals for serving the public.
  5. When wrong, say “I’m sorry.”
  6. When right, give credit to the persons responsible. Whether it’s the rookie cop or the shop owner who dialed it in, give legitimate thanks.
  7. Don’t wait until a crisis to introduce yourself to the public you vowed to protect.
  8. Don’t take it person. Negative public comments are born out of the frustrations of not being heard. Re-evaluate practices to ensure you’ve not shut your community out.
  9. When times get tough, don’t be a prick.
  10. In all situations, be yourself – a single human being placed in extraordinary circumstances trying to handle unimaginable calamities. People understand if you trip, and if you do, refer back to #9.

Ferguson & Public Engagement | What are they good for?

Us versus Them | A Ferguson Outcome

If Not Us, Who?

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Blessed with new friends along the way

John Kerry has been a vital volunteer in promoting our Thibodaux Police Department’s social media strategy.
Blessed with new friends along the way

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Our HOT CAR Message went viral | Just don’t do it

The Thibodaux Police Department challenges each officer to create innovative social media messaging that relates to our citizens and demonstrates our willingness to extend ourselves to serve the city.

This selfless demonstration by Public Information Officer Detective David Melancon illustrates our vision of service. Way to Geaux

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5 great ways to destroy your police career on social media

If you’re on the hunt for creative way to toss away that great career in law enforcement, I’ve got the answer for you: Be irresponsible and reckless in our use of social media

Dr. Richard Weinblatt

Weinblatt’s Tips

with Dr. Richard Weinblatt

You’ve survived years of schooling and training, along with a few good years of law enforcement service.

If you’re on the hunt for creative way to toss away that great career in law enforcement, I’ve got the answer for you: Be irresponsible and reckless in your use of social media.

Yes, you too can flush all that prestige and the honor of wearing the badge — not to mention the little issue of being able to afford to shelter and feed you and your family — just by a few well-placed posts on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, or other social media account.

If you want out of that police department or sheriff’s department job, I can almost guarantee that following the below steps will ensure that you can enjoy a life of leisure as a gainfully unemployed former law enforcement officer.

This is also good advice for those pre-service individuals seeking to destroy their career before it even gets off the ground. Quite conveniently for you, many hiring law enforcement agencies look closely at prospective hires’ social media sites in a bid to ascertain character and suitability for a judgment-oriented career in public safety.

The below examples will certainly make your need to exercise good judgment abundantly clear.

1. Contravene Confidentiality
As a law enforcement professional, you are trusted by your employer and have a duty to protect the confidentiality of information you obtain while serving your community. If you are bent on destroying that confidentiality, then by all means, do post pictures of victims of gruesome vehicle crashes on Instagram and release that detailed confidential source information in 140 descriptive characters on Twitters.

2. Bash your Boss
Be a die-hard First Amendment Free Speecher and air your feelings about your sergeant or lieutenant on your zero-privacy-settings Facebook page. Bash your boss by name. Use a picture. That’s sure to win him or her over to your point of view. Go even further and draw obscene objects on their posted picture.

3. Pornographic Pictures
While you’re on your combustible career crash, be sure to ride the wave of pornographic pictures that are all the rage on Instagram and Tumblr. Better yet, be sure to have parts of your official uniform visible hanging off of you with special attention to your department’s insignia (patch or badge – your choice) or your marked unit clearly visible in the photo. Throw in a departmentally owned weapon or two to get more bang for your buck.

4. Drugs and Alcohol
So, maybe you’re not the type to flaunt your nude or semi naked body on social media. Another variation would be the open use of your favorite illicit drug in Facebook pictures. Be sure your face is visible as you use your chosen method of ingesting that drug and go that extra mile of identifying yourself as a law enforcer.

If drugs aren’t your thing, take heart as drinking can also leave your career in ruins. Drunken behavior is always noticed by law enforcement agency chief executives, so be outrageous in your actions. Heck, have some underage folks drinking with you in the picture for some real impact. For the icing on the cake, leave that evidence tag attached from when you swiped it with the agency’s tag clearly displayed in the photo.

5. Racist Rants
Tired of being politically correct? Then go to the opposite end of the spectrum and put all sorts of racist, sexist, and homophobic rants on your Twitter. Let your inner misogynist be public. The Twitter rants approach has done wonders for Alec Baldwin’s image and it can certainly have an effect on yours with your department. Defense attorneys particularly appreciate when they discover any prejudicial or sexist attitudes that you have on display on social media and use them in court and publicly to impeach your credibility.

Make It Count
Whatever method or methods above that you pursue in the destruction of your career, be sure to do it while on duty. Use the agency’s smartphone or computer, and have all of your social media privacy settings on open to the public. You should at least have the maligning missives go through the agency’s server. That will certainly give the administration some good grounds upon which to go after you.

In all seriousness though, contrary to the above examples of what NOT to do, responsible use of your social media is the route to go in the public safety field, as well as all other careers. Eschewing these websites altogether is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I don’t advocate going without social media — I favor controlled usage of them.

Social media is a tool much like your firearm (I’ve opened up Pandora ’s Box with that analogy). It can be used to further your law enforcement career, as well as investigative and community relations duties. It can also be used to destroy your chosen career path. You control its use and a professional approach is a win for you, your employer, and the community you represent and serve.

 

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Social Media is The New Face of Disaster Response

July 18, 2013

NOTE: Great post from my friend Lauri Stevens at ConnectedCops.net. Please check her out!

Did you know that 76% of survivors of natural disasters use social media to let their friends know they’re safe? You can find more interesting facts about social media’s role in the wake of a natural disaster, including Sandy, in the following infographic developed by University of San Francisco’s Masters of Public Administration department. The infographic was most recently used in a congressional hearing shown on C-SPAN, demonstrating the importance of social media in a natural disaster.

Social Media is The New Face of Disaster Response [Infographic]
Have you relied upon social media for information in a crisis?

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