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Connect with Your Citizens Anywhere They Want - CityConnect: New Mobile App for Law Enforcement

Law Enforcement to Community Communication – dialogue, not monologue

For many law enforcement agencies, when asked if they have a social media program, their answer will be something like, “yes, we have a Facebook page, and Twitter account.” A good start, but as a standalone, this doesn’t exactly define a program.

Many agencies struggle to gain traction once they launch an agency Facebook page. Take for example, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office that was recently featured in the PublicEngines Definitive Guide to Social Media Engagement for Law Enforcement Agencies 2013. The agency launched its Facebook page, but after three years, only had about 200 Likes, and almost no engagement or interaction with the community. Almost by accident, the Agency went from 200 Likes to several hundreds when hurricane Sandy hit as people in the community were searching for credible sources about the storm and public safety issues.

We can learn from the spike in Likes and engagement Niagara experienced, and it can be done without the help of a hurricane!

The Guide to Social Media Engagement list six ideas for growing your audience and engaging with them:

  1. download The Definitive Guide to Social Media Engagement for Law Enforcement AgenciesHold an Launch Event. Many agencies have successfully hosted a social media launch event (Facebook) by tying into an existing community events. Another example was when the Virginia State Police Department launched its Facebook page on the anniversary of a community-known unsolved homicide.
  2. Obtain Publicity. Most agencies have good working relationship with local media. By issuing a news announcement & having news stories about the social media initiative, agencies can gain awareness, likes/followers, and begin the engagement process.
  3. Promote Social Media Profiles on Agency Website. In addition to making people aware the profiles exist, agencies can also ask questions on the website, and ask the community to provide comments on its social sites.
  4. Use Email to Promote Social Sites & Engage. From including links to social sites in email signatures, to direct outreach emails asking for Likes, or community-related questions, email can be a great way to communicate.
  5. Maintaining Engagement. By providing consistent and predicable information that is useful, actionable, compelling, and sharable with others, fans and followers will begin to anticipate and look forward to these posts. Engagement is sure to follow.
  6. Use CityConnect. All citizens to access all of the agencies social media and web CityConnectaccounts to citizens through their smart phones to make connecting and engagement easy, and always available. CityConnect is an agency-branded mobile app that does just that. From allowing people to deliver crime tips, to accessing CrimeReports, and even for emergency updates, there is no better way to connect with people today than through their smart phone.

The full Guide contains more details, and useful case examples. You can download it here.

Do You Know How to Manage Facebook Privacy Settings?

Chances are that you are on Facebook. Or, if you’re not, you soon will be. After all, Facebook boasts over 400 million users across the world (Facebook Press Room) and is growing rapidly.

We all have our own reasons for joining—we want to connect with old friends, find new friends, or we give in to pressure from friends or family that are already there (Groundswell, 2008). However, too many of us join Facebook without giving much attention to our Facebook privacy settings.

A Consumer Reports survey, released yesterday, says that 52% of social network users posted “risky information” during the past year. Interestingly, the number was 56% among Facebook users. A New York Times analysis of this Consumer Reports survey says the report “inadvertently reveals that Facebook users clearly have no idea about how much they’re publicly sharing on the network.”

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The Future of Policing

I saw this video yesterday and I thought it would be fun to share it here. It’s a little animation about how police work will be in the future. Amazingly, a lot of this technology already exists, but hasn’t yet matriculated into the law enforcement system. I also think this is a pretty accurate picture of what policing might be like in 20 years or so (well, minus the jet packs and areal bikes).

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Media-friendliness as Force Multiplier

Photo by emples via Flickr

I can always tell within minutes of an interview how media-friendly my source is. If they engage in small talk, that indicates that they’re interested in their interviewer. If they’re interested in me, and we establish a rapport, that makes it much more likely that they’ll volunteer information. They won’t stick rigidly to my questions, and in the silence that follows an answer, they’ll speak first. (Yes, cops too. Really! Surprised?)

What does this have to do with social media?

A police source who allows him- or herself to be engaged in more of a conversation with me than an interview recognizes the importance of putting information out there. They want the public to hear it, and they trust me to help them tell it.

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Will Anti-Bullying Legislation Make a Difference?

Uploaded by via Flickr

Cyberbullying has been a major theme in headlines over the past few months. The teen suicides of Long Island’s Alexis Pilkington and Massachusetts’ Phoebe Prince, as well as the bullying of California teenager Autumn Albin, have generated legislative action from California to New Hampshire.

Here is a brief look at what four states are doing to stop bullying.


In wake of Phoebe Prince’s death, the Boston Herald reported that both the state House and Senate passed anti-bullying bills in March. According to the article, both bills seek to “curtail bullying in schools and in cyberspace.”

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