Take a Deep Breath and Count to Three Before Posting…

This blog series highlights some of the top Social Media Beat posts from the last couple years. For more information about IACP’s Center for Social Media visit the project webpage. This post was originally published on Wednesday, November 23, 2016.

Guest Blogger: Rebecca Rosenblatt, Sergeant, San Mateo County, California, Sheriff’s Office

While taking a moment to ponder the wisdom of messaging before hitting send is never a bad idea in any context, never more so does this advice bear repeating. No matter the size of the community you serve or the organization for which you work, politics is undoubtedly a hot topic. It is at the point where political beliefs and emotion converge with internet enabled devices that the potential for internal investigations and career ending mine fields begins and ends.

Though it is certainly not new advice, it is a lesson worth recounting, that what staff do in the privacy of their own lives, often becomes subject to public scrutiny when posted online. Politics and religion are often deal breakers for a myriad of relationships, and so too can they be the breaking point for the public image of your organization. All the bridges built through coffee with the cops and public safety citizens’ academies can be gone in an instant with one contentious or insensitive posting that reaches the wrong audience.

So, the obvious question remains what can be done to avoid this? How can you protect your organization and your community from suffering at the hands of an ill thought out social media posting by a member of your staff?

The answer is this; first and foremost encourage the men and women in your organization to review the privacy settings on their various social media accounts. With settings changing all the time, this is a good practice for everyone to get into no matter what they do for a living. The next most important practice to get into, is taking a beat. Take a moment before posting whatever you are feeling and ask yourself, is this in conflict with my organizational polices or guidelines? Is this post something that could paint me in a bad light should a member of the community see it? A good rule of thumb is to consider what you are about to post and decide if you would feel comfortable with it falling into the hands of your local news media. It is a story as old as the internet itself, where an officer-involved incident occurs and miraculously a web search results in posts and pictures from something completely unrelated, defining the character of those involved.

Don’t let this happen to you or your organization. Be smart and police yourself and those you care about in regard to the topic and type of material you choose to post online. Remind staff that what they choose to post on social media becomes a reflection of who they are, and in turn a reflection of the public safety organization they work for. In this day and age, where public trust in law enforcement is at a premium, these simple reminders about social media best practices cannot be reiterated enough.


Posted in Social Media

No Girl Lost

The Task Force on 21st Century Policing provides recommendations for rebuilding trust and including community stakeholders to promote a safer community for all. Some highlights include: connecting with youth in order to develop trust, and building legitimacy.

Guest Blogger: Officer Amber Ross, Louisville (KY) Metro Police Department, Community Policing Unit

Upon my 2013 graduation from the Louisville Metro Police Academy in Kentucky,  I noticed when I responded to calls, they typically involved boys and men. However, I also observed girls in the background, almost unseen. These young girls reminded me of myself in younger days. I sought to help them; to let these girls know they can be successful. I created No Girl Lost as a safe space for girls to come after school, I mentor them and create a comfortable space for them to work on bettering themselves. No Girl Lost, was named because I wanted every girl to know that they don’t need to be lost or alone in their struggles.No girl lost 1

No Girl Lost meetings are held at local schools where the girls feel more comfortable. I ask school counselors to refer the girls struggling with behavioral issues, communication, home life, grades, and/or attitudes. In its inaugural year, the program impacted 115 girls. During the 2016-2017 school year, I worked with 80 girls in six different schools. The program has been so successful that girls who have been in it for a year now are helping recruit others in need. Some girls have even set-up booths in their school common areas to talk to potential participants about why they should come to No Girl Lost and how much it has changed their lives.

I start by telling the girls my story; the struggles I faced as a young girl and in my early adult life. I was raised by a single mom, my father was in a penitentiary, and I became a single mom myself. In the face of everything, I refused to become a statistic. I graduated from college in May 2012 and the police academy in August 2013. Sharing my story helps girls relate and connect with me, they see who I have become despite my situation.

I ask each girl to define herself. It can be heartbreaking to hear how these girls wish they looked prettier or had a normal home life, and in turn how they see that as defining them. I ask these personal questions because it is typically the first time these girls have been challenged to get in tune with themselves. These are emotional conversations. No Girl Lost provides each girl with a journal, to serve as an outlet to express themselves in a safe space.

At the end of the school year I throw a dance for all the girls in the No Girl Lost program. It is my way of showing them appreciation and gratitude for all the hard work they have done. As a result of the program, many of the girls have improved grades, family connections, and attitudes. The dance is a fun time. We bring in a DJ, eat pizza, and give out donated prizes. This is all about showing them they can be successful and that their struggles don’t limit them.

No girl lost 2On Friday September 29th, 2017, I received the 2017 Break Thru Guru award for No Girl Lost. This award is presented by the Louisville Metro Government to an employee who implements an innovative way to deliver excellent services which make Louisville Metro a better place to work, live or visit.


Want to know more about No Girl Lost, Officer Amber Ross, and the Louisville Metro Police Department?

This blog post is part of a series highlighting best practices in advancing 21st century policing as part of the IACP Institute for Community-Police Relations. Louisville is one of fifteen sites selected for participation in the Advancing 21st Century Policing Initiative, a joint project of the COPS Office, CNA, and the IACP to highlight agencies who are actively embracing the principles in the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.



Posted in Community-Police Relations

A New Look for the One Mind Campaign

one mind.JPGThe IACP has launched a re-designed One Mind Campaign webpage to better assist pledged departments in implementing the four strategies of the campaign and to encourage other agencies to take the pledge.

Since its inception in March 2016, the One Mind Campaign has focused on four promising strategies to guide departments as they seek to improve their interactions with persons affected by mental illness:

  • Establish a clearly defined and sustainable relationship with at least one community mental health organization
  • Develop and implement a written policy addressing law enforcement response to persons affected by mental illness
  • Demonstrate that 100 percent of sworn officers (and selected non-sworn staff, such as dispatchers) are trained and certified in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)
  • Demonstrate that 20 percent of sworn officers (and selected non-sworn staff, such as dispatchers) are trained and certified on the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training.map

The new website features a map showing the participating agencies within the United States and abroad, and a resource page with links to the Model Policy on Responding to Persons Affected by Mental Illness or In Crisis and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Police Mental Health Collaboration Toolkit to aid departments in finding mental health organizations to partner with.

To date, 274 agencies have taken the pledge, and five associations have partnered with IACP to bring awareness to this important issue, including Crisis Intervention Team International, the National Marshall and Constables Association, the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. To learn more about the One Mind Campaign, visit the One Mind Campaign webpage, or email onemindcampaign@theiacp.org.

Posted in Mental Health

NIBRS Pre-Certification Tool

The National Crime Statistics Exchange (NCS-X) Team is pleased to announce the arrival of the NIBRS Pre-Certification Tool.  The tool will allow law enforcement agencies to conduct a “trial run” of its NIBRS data to locate errors and inconsistencies prior to officially submitting its data to a State UCR program and/or to FBI CJIS.  Agencies simply drag-and-drop their data to the site in a single NIBRS text file or a zip file containing single NIBRS text file to generate an easy-to-understand list of errors with descriptions.

Instructions on how to use the tool are available on the website:  http://bit.ly/NIBRS-PCTool

Please note:

  • The tool complies with all the rules and edit checks of the national FBI NIBRS standard (version 3.1).  It is not specific to any particular state, so will not include data elements or response categories that may have been added by the state.
  • The tool is not a substitute for FBI NIBRS Certification, nor is it a substitute for State UCR Certification.  It will simply help agencies to identify where to concentrate its efforts in automating changes to its RMS and/or rules validations.
  • Additional formats of the tool (e.g., xml file submission) and other user-friendly updates to improve ease of understanding of error reports are expected to be available in the first quarter of 2018.

On the website, you may share your thoughts about its functionality and suggestions on how to improve it.

The NCS-X Team is comprised of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, RTI International, SEARCH, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, IJIS Institute, Police Executive Research Forum, and the Association of State UCR Programs.

Posted in Technology

Check Out the New Policy Center Documents

When was the last time you reviewed your standards of conduct policy? The IACP Policy Center is pleased to offer new documents on Investigating Sexual Assaults, and Standards of Conduct.*

  • Investigating Sexual Assaults – the updated documents on this topic provide detailed guidelines and discussion with the goal of ensuring that law enforcement agencies take a professional, victim-centered approach to reports of sexual assaults and proactively investigate these crimes and prosecute the perpetrator in a manner that helps restore the victim’s dignity and sense of control, while decreasing the victim’s anxiety and increasing their understanding of the criminal justice system and process.
  • Standards of Conduct – law enforcement officers must be required to conduct themselves both on and off duty in a manner that reflects high ethical standards consistent with the values and mission established by their agencies and the expectations of the communities they serve. To reinforce this, agencies must clearly define what is and is not acceptable conduct through their policies, procedures, and training.

* Note: These documents are available exclusively to IACP Members and IACP Net customers. You must be logged into your IACP account to access the website. Your username is your email address on file. If you are unsure of your password, please click on the “Forgot Password” link to reset.  Not an IACP member? Visit www.theiacp.org/membership and join today!

Click here for a listing of available Model Policies or contact the Policy Center directly at policycenter@theiacp.org.

IACP NetWould you like to further tailor your policy manual? IACP Net, proud sponsor of the Model Policies, houses over 25,000 policies from over 500 agencies in addition to providing access to Model Policies. Visit http://www.commandanswers.com/improve-policies or call 800-227-9640 to join today and take your IACP membership to the next level!

Posted in IACP, Policy

Kewaunee County Providing Important Services to Key Populations

The Task Force on 21st Century Policing provides recommendations for rebuilding trust and including community stakeholders to promote a safer community for all. Some highlights include: community-wide collaboration, cross-discipline education, and creating a culture of trust and transparency.

Kewaunee 1The Kewaunee County, Wisconsin, Sheriff’s Department has worked with two key community groups since the 1980s: women who are victims of domestic violence and the immigrant Hispanic community. The Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department recognizes the integral role it plays in the well-being of these two populations.

In 1989, three women came together recognizing the need for services for victims of domestic violence and created the Violence Intervention Project (VIP), which provides services to victims of domestic violence. After a successful 10 years of service, VIP expanded and developed a Transitional Living Program. This program provides a safe temporary living environment for victims of abuse and violence as well as access to support groups, and other resources. Today, the number of victims served by VIP and its Transitional Living program continues to grow and change with the county’s population. To keep up the increasing Hispanic population in Kewaunee County, the VIP program began providing bilingual services, which has helped the program connect more effectively with Hispanic victims of domestic violence. kewanunee 2

Another program created in partnership with VIP, is the Coordinated Community Response (CCR) team. The program’s goal was to establish collaboration between community systems and services. The CCR team is comprised of law enforcement, social services, victim advocates, and other stakeholders focused on domestic violence, sexual assault, and elder abuse. The CCR provides a safe forum for professionals to have open discussion about how cases are being handled, and what victim services and educational opportunities are available. As a result of the collaborative nature of the team, gaps in services are easily identified and support services are provided to the community.

Kewaunee County has also focused on helping its Hispanic and immigrant communities. Providing bilingual services, such as translators, is just one way the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department and other community services have built relationships with the Hispanic Community.  A ‘Know Your Rights’ workshop was also held for more than 40 service providers who regularly interact with immigrants. The workshop was hosted by an immigration attorney from nearby Green Bay, WI and the Sheriff of Kewanee County presented about law enforcement’s approach to immigrants and immigration law and other immigration related topics.

A second meeting was held within the community providing an opportunity for residents to ask specific questions about immigration policies and practices. The community is also working to provide its Hispanic community with services connected with all aspects of life. As an example, a Literacy Partners program was created to help provide educational resources including GED prep courses and language classes to help break the language barrier for immigrants and providers. Grzeca Law Group, SC, based out of nearby Green Bay, provides attorney services to the Hispanic community and works to dispel myths about immigration law. These services include a free consultation and on several occasions continued service costs have been covered by local faith communities.

Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department and its community partners continue to improve the way of life for two key populations – women victims of domestic violence and the Hispanic community.

Would you like to know more about these programs in Kewaunee County?

This blog post is part of a series highlighting best practices in advancing 21st century policing as part of the IACP Institute for Community-Police Relations. Kewaunee County is one of fifteen sites selected for participation in the Advancing 21st Century Policing Initiative, a joint project of the COPS Office, CNA, and the IACP to highlight agencies who are actively embracing the principles in the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.


Posted in Community-Police Relations

Officer Safety When the Public Uses Social Media in a Crisis

This blog series highlights some of the top Social Media Beat posts from the last couple years. For more information about IACP’s Center for Social Media visit the project webpage. This post was originally published on Monday, June 29, 2015.

Guest Blogger: Billy Grogan, Chief of Police, Dunwoody, Georgia, Police Department

Right at this moment while you are reading this post, a police department somewhere across the country is dealing with a crisis.  These crises vary in length, public awareness, outcome and many other factors.  You may never hear about some and others may be on the news for days, weeks or even months.  They involve murder, rape, assault, kidnapping, barricaded suspects, manhunts and many other crimes and tragedies.  Although they can be very dissimilar, they do have one factor in common.  The public taking photos and videos of the incidents and posting the information to their social media channels can put officers at risk.

In 2014, agencies in the Seattle, Washington area asked citizens to Tweet Smart and used the hashtag #TweetSmart.  They asked their community to not post information, photos or video on social media showing the movement, location or tactics being used by police officers during police incidents where the information could possibly put officers at risk.  The agencies also were concerned that citizens might put themselves at risk trying to get that information for social media.  Of course the real fear is suspects may be monitoring social media and get information and use that information to hurt police officers.

In 2011 in Ogden, Utah, that actually happened.  A suspect was barricaded in a hotel and had a hostage.  The suspect was updating his Facebook page during the standoff and was told the police were right outside his window.  Officers were definitely put at risk.  Fortunately, no officers were injured.

It seems like this issue pops up from time to time in various communities across the country after they have a crisis.  Recently, the Evansville Police Department was engaged in a 13 hour standoff.  There were a lot of people watching the event unfold posting photos and videos on social media.  Thankfully, no officers were injured as a result of this action.  However, the department spoke out afterwards about the danger of citizens posting information about real-time events that may put officer’s lives at risk.

Rather than wait for a crisis, law enforcement agencies should take a proactive approach and address this issue periodically before experiencing a critical incident.  When you are in the middle of one of these incidents it can be extremely difficult to control what the public is putting on social media.  Although it could still happen, your agency will have a much better chance of mitigating this activity if you have made a concentrated effort to educate your community about this dangerous activity.  Let’s all #TweetSmart!

Posted in Social Media

IACP Names Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan as the Director of Strategic Partnerships for Europe

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) is pleased to announce the appointment of Nóirín O’Sullivan, former Commissioner of An Garda Síochána, the Republic of Ireland’s police force, as the Director of Strategic Partnerships for Europe.

The Director of Strategic Partnerships for Europe is a newly created position at the IACP, and an instrumental step by the association to further expand its global reach and representation. For the first time in IACP’s history, a staff member will be based outside of the United States to help enhance the services to our worldwide membership that is located in 150 countries.

Commissioner O’Sullivan brings to the IACP over 30 years of invaluable law enforcement experience. Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan has shown an unwavering commitment to the law enforcement profession, and will be a great asset to the association and the global profession.

O’Sullivan served as the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána from March 2014 – September 2017. She was the first woman to lead the Gardai in its 92-year history. She has had a long and decorated history within the Gardai, first joining in 1981. O’Sullivan is a graduate of the FBI National Executive Institute’s law-enforcement course for police chiefs worldwide. She also holds first class honors in diploma and MA courses in business and advanced management from the Michael Smurfit School of Business in University College Dublin (UCD). In 2015, she was honored at the UCD foundation day alumni awards receiving the Alumni Business Award. Sullivan was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Ulster for Distinguished Public Service. She is also a graduate of the Executive Education Program – Driving Government Performance at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

The IACP is honored to have former Commissioner O’Sullivan join us. Commissioner O’Sullivan will arrive later in the Fall and will be based in Ireland.

Posted in Breaking News, Global Policing, IACP, Jobs, Leadership, Membership, Press Release

IACP 2017 in Pictures – Day 4

chiefs night 1

Hope everyone had a great time at Chief’s Night last night! 

critial issues forum

Great discussion during this morning’s Critical Issues Forum. 

Perscpective series

Final Perspective Series on How to Find, Hire, and Keep the Finest. 

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2017 conference!

Posted in Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference General Information

Leading Law Enforcement Organizations Release Companion Document to National Consensus Policy On Use Of Force

As part of our long-standing commitment to advancing the profession of law enforcement and the practice of policing, eleven leading law enforcement leadership and labor organizations continued their work to provide guidance to the law enforcement profession on de-escalation techniques, less-lethal force, and deadly force.

The extensive work of the participating organizations resulted in the development of a companion Discussion Paper to supplement the Consensus Policy on Use of Force that was published in January 2017. The combined National Consensus Policy and Discussion Paper on Use of Force document represents our collaborative efforts to advance the law enforcement profession, while upholding our commitment and duty to serve the public and preserve all human life.

The National Consensus Discussion Paper on Use of Force is designed to provide essential background material and supporting documentation to promote greater understanding of the developmental philosophy and implementation guidelines for the Consensus Policy. Law agencies are encouraged to utilize the Discussion Paper and the information contained therein to better inform their decisions on whether to implement the various elements found in the Consensus Policy in their own agencies.

The National Consensus Discussion Paper on Use of Force and Consensus Policy adopted by these organizations reflects the best thinking of all consensus organizations and is solely intended to serve as a template for law enforcement agencies to compare, contrast, and enhance their existing policies.


The 11 supporting organizations include:

  • Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies
  • Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies
  • Fraternal Order of Police
  • Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association
  • International Association of Chiefs of Police
  • Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association
  • International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training
  • National Association of Police Organizations
  • National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives
  • National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives
  • National Tactical Officers Association
Posted in Breaking News, Policy