The Expo Hall at IACP 2017

The 2017 IACP Annual Conference and Exposition will be held October 21-24, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Join thousands of law enforcement leaders from around the world as they gather for four days of education, exhibits, and networking.

The 2017 expo hall features more than 600 exhibitors showcasing the latest in law enforcement products and services.

New this year, the center of the expo hall will be transformed into The Hub, an area for professional development, networking, and access to IACP programs and services.

The Hub

Be sure to download the conference app to plan your conference experience and stay tuned for information on how to secure your space for one-on-one training and mentoring.

Register today!

Posted in Annual Conference and Exposition, Exposition Hall

Engaging Families for Recruitment and Retention

The lifestyle and culture of law enforcement affects more than just the officers.  Spouses, partners, parents, children, and companions of law enforcement officers play an integral role in an officer’s health and wellness. The IACP’s Law Enforcement Families blog series highlights the importance of the dedication and support that law enforcement officers receive throughout their careers from their families. 

 Police departments do not just hire individuals, they hire families. As law enforcement agencies continue to work through common recruitment and retention challenges – an increasingly young police force, senior officers’ retirements, lack of diverse candidates, and ever-present retention concerns – it is important to find innovative means to engage and nurture the families who will support police officers from recruitment through retirement.

The Rapid City, South Dakota, Police Department (RCPD) faced recruitment challenges similar to other agencies in the United States. The police force had limited diversity, with a good portion of recruits coming from outside of the area. As department leaders set about rethinking their recruiting efforts, they set a goal to better represent the local community by “home growing” their own officers, particularly from Rapid City’s large Lakota Native American community. The department designed a variety of methods to engage the families of aspiring local police officers to ease their transition into police work.

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Community members with an RCPD patrol car designed by a Lakota tribal member, featuring the traditional Lakota phrase “Mitakuye Oyasin,” which translates to “all my relatives.”

QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSIONS: The IACP Critical Issues Listening Tour participants indicated that the public image of law enforcement and the decrease in public trust are factors that inhibit recruitment and retention. Similarly, RCPD found generational distrust a significant barrier that creates hesitancy in minority police candidates and diminishes support from their families. RCPD is beginning to meet directly with local aspiring officers to provide support, and they encourage family members to be a part of the conversation to answer questions regarding careers in law enforcement. RCPD is also considering establishing a series of Question and Answer Sessions through social media avenues such as Facebook Live.

CITIZENS’ POLICE ACADEMY: The RCPD Citizens’ Police Academy is a 13-week program that exposes participants to a variety of police functions. Encouraging family members of aspiring officers to attend is a great way to earn trust and clear up misperceptions by helping them understand how law enforcement operates. Additionally, it allows family members to ask more in-depth questions and to get to know police personnel on a more personal basis.

SD Families 3

Officer Husfeldt ‘deputizing’ playground enforcement and the future of law enforcement

COMMUNITY POLICING EVENTS: Community events and forums are a great time to encourage the benefits of community policing and local recruitment. Highlighting how crime is impacting specific neighborhoods and how local community members can work with officers creates a good opportunity for discussing the potential impact police officers from that neighborhood could make. Analyzing the effectiveness of current community policing programs helps with these discussions. It is also a great time to suggest family/spouse support groups for those who have loved ones in law enforcement.

STUDENT – PROFESSIONAL SOCIETY: RCPD and the Western Dakota Technical Institute have a working relationship, as police personnel teach criminal justice courses at the school. Since Western Dakota Tech is the only local institution that has a law enforcement program, many recruits naturally come from there. Like the police department, the law enforcement program could use a boost in minority applicants. As a means to facilitate internal support amongst the students in the program, a professional society is being designed with Native American students. This program builds on the model of existing professional associations such as the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) and the National Native American Law Enforcement Association (NNALEA) to provide education, advocacy, and support. This professional society will also be inclusive to students attending other South Dakota Regent colleges and universities.

MONTHLY POT LUCKS: The indigenous Lakota people are very communal and, like many other cultures, social gatherings are centered around sharing a meal. The Student Professional Society has a monthly pot luck incorporated into the meetings. These meetings feature education about Native American and Lakota traditional police societies, trends in law enforcement, and genealogy of Native American families known for serving in traditional police societies. Family members are highly encouraged to participate and to even share their family history of serving in traditional Lakota police or warrior societies.

An officer’s support group is just as important as the training they receive. Emotional and mental wellness is a critical issue defined by the 21st Century Policing Task Force Report. Friends and families are crucial to an officer’s emotional stability, and they are often the first to notice when the officer needs help. It is important to nurture, not only an active officer’s support group, but also an aspiring police officer’s support group.

Posted in Community-Police Relations

Downtown Engagement Project: Prevention through Education and Engagement

This blog post is part of a series highlighting best practices in community policing by police departments nationwide as part of IACP’s Community Policing: The Next Generation and Task Force on 21st Century Policing projects. The projects showcase innovative and effective solutions to building trust and creating opportunities to collaborate with community stakeholders to increase public safety. These projects are funded through the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Dayton, Ohio, Police Department is a recipient of the 2015 IACP/Cisco Community Policing Award

DaytonA growing concern in many cities is how to respond to individuals with mental illness and homeless people with care and respect. Dayton, Ohio is no exception. In 2013, the Downtown Dayton Partnership, a downtown advocacy organization, received complaints from downtown businesses and other residential and entertainment stakeholders regarding individuals in the downtown area who appeared to be experiencing mental health, substance abuse, homelessness, and/or co-occurring issues. The Downtown Dayton Partnership reached out to the Dayton  Police Department (DPD) for solutions to this situation.

The frequency of Dayton police officers’ encounters with people with mental illness over the years has steadily risen. Trips to jail or local hospitals were temporary solutions and not effective in addressing long-term care for those with mental illness. Overall, these interactions have consumed a great deal of police, health care, and corrections resources.

Members of the DPD Central Patrol Operations Division joined forces with the Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services Board; Goodwill/Easter Seals of the Miami Valley; Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness; and the Downtown Dayton Partnership to develop a strategy to address individuals with mental illness and homeless people in downtown Dayton. Out of this collaboration, the Downtown Engagement Project was formed.

After initial meetings between partners, all agreed that police officers do not have theDayton 2 formal training and expertise to properly assess the needs of the individuals with mental illness. In addition, partners felt the very uniform a police officer wears can sometimes be a barrier in connecting with people with mental illness, as the uniform can be symbolic of impending incarceration or an unwanted hospital stay. Engagement with mental health professionals was key to determining the needs of those with mental illness. The Downtown Engagement Project consists of the following components: information sharing, engagement, and community education in stigma reduction.

The engagement process looks like this: a certified social work professional along with a peer specialist conduct face-to-face contact with the individual to assess their current situations. Reducing stigma is important because without education, understanding, and support within the community, outreach to improve conditions for individuals with mental illness is not possible. The engagement team is a “boots on the ground” mobile field force that can spend a few minutes saying hello to a homeless individual or person with mental illness, or spend hours talking about their life history. The engagement team has more time than the average officer to get to know this population, and has the training and experience to direct them toward better solutions than hospitals or jails. To the partners of this initiative, engagement means more than interaction with those with mental illness. A community educated in the nature of mental illness is also an engaged community.

In the months after implementation, the partners met regularly to discuss how the target group was accepting the engagements. The project and the team have made a positive difference in the lives of people with mental illness and homeless individuals.

Posted in Community-Police Relations

The IACP’s One Mind Campaign to Date

In 2015, an estimated 43.4 million adults in the United States were living with mental illness[i] and it is estimated that 450 million people globally live with a mental illness[ii]. The identification and care of persons affected by mental illness has largely fallen to law enforcement in recent years due to a decline in the availability of community mental health resources. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) decided to confront this important issue of improving the encounters between law enforcement and persons affected by mental illness.

In March 2016, the IACP convened a panel of law enforcement and mental health experts to address law enforcement’s response and this collaboration resulted in the One Mind Campaign. Since its inception, the One Mind Campaign has focused on four promising practices to guide departments as they seek to improve their interactions with persons affected by mental illness:

  1. Establish a clearly defined and sustainable relationship with at least one community mental health organization
  2. Develop and implement a written policy addressing law enforcement response to persons affected by mental illness
  3. 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)
  4. 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

Today, 139 agencies have taken the One Mind Campaign pledge and committed to completing the four promising practices within 12-36 months. The network of agencies continues to grow and as it grows, agencies will interact with each other and with the IACP in finding creative solutions to implement these practices within their own communities.

In June 2017, the IACP, in coordination with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) GAIN Center, hosted a Best Practice Implementation Academy (BPIA) with 23 agencies representing 3 projects: Data Driven Justice, the Stepping Up initiative, and the One Mind Campaign. Eight of the twenty-three agencies were departments recommended by the One Mind Campaign team; a combination of ‘best practices’ departments and departments working to implement the promising practices within their communities. The departments worked collaboratively to attend to individual challenges different locales face, bringing together new and innovative solutions to long-standing problems.

The goal of the BPIA was to share best practices and identify opportunities to provide follow-on technical assistance among departments. In August 2017, three of the eight BPIA participating police departments will host a regional symposium to encourage greater regional One Mind Campaign participation. The three police departments are: Arlington, Texas; Orland Park, Illinois; and French Settlement, Louisiana. The host departments are being asked to utilize their regional influence to encourage local departments and behavioral health professionals to attend the symposium and commit to taking the One Mind Campaign pledge.

To learn more about the One Mind Campaign visit the IACP website.


[i] Any Mental Illness (AMI) Among Adults. (n.d.). Retrieved June 28, 2017, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-mental-illness-ami-among-adults.shtml

[ii] World Health Organization. “Mental disorders affect one in four people.” Treatment Available but not Being Used (2001).

Posted in Mental Health

IACP 2017: Solutions for a Safer Society

 

IACP17_lockup2_bellThe 2017 IACP Annual Conference and Exposition kicks off in less than 100 days! Join thousands of law enforcement leaders from around the world as they gather for four days of education, exhibits, and networking.

With more than 200 sessions across 12 specialized tracks, IACP 2017 brings together subject matter experts from around the globe to share best practices and address challenges that affect agencies and communities today. View the educational program on the IACP conference website or by downloading the IACP Events mobile app.

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Need some assistance planning or justifying your attendance to supervisors or other decision makers? Use the IACP 2017 Justification Kit, which will help your organize your conference planning and, if needed, to assist you in justifying your attendance to supervisors or other decision makers we have developed a toolkit you can personalize to meet your needs.

New to conference and not sure what to expect from the education sessions? Over 60 recorded sessions from the 2016 IACP Annual Conference in San Diego are offered for viewing on the IACP members only page.

Not a member? Check out some conference highlights on our YouTube Channel!

See you in Philadelphia!

 

Posted in Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference General Information, Educational Tracks

Meet the Leadership Blog Series: Different Reasons for Going into Law Enforcement

The IACP Board of Directors is comprised of the IACP Executive Board as well as 33 law enforcement leaders appointed by the IACP President. The members of the Board of Directors represent agencies large and small around the globe and govern the IACP. In the IACP’s Meet the Leadership Blog Series, the IACP will feature brief profiles of the 33 appointed members of the Board of Directors.

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Name: Rick Scarbrough

Title: Chief of Police

Agency: Clinton, Tennessee, Police Department

Year Joined the IACP: 2002

Reason for Going into Law Enforcement: The law enforcement profession actually found me. I had never considered it before. I was a 20-year-old full-time college student, working part-time in construction. A friend of a friend mentioned a part-time corrections officer position with our local sheriff’s department. That is how it started, three nights per week I worked at the jail. I began going on ride-alongs with the deputies and soon knew this is what I wanted to do. Six months later, I accepted a full-time position and put college on the back burner. I later returned to night classes and completed my bachelor’s and master’s degree.

First Heard about IACP: I was named Chief of Police in 2002 and was referred to the IACP soon after by my fellow Tennessee chiefs. My first IACP conference was in Miami, Florida in 2005. I was blown away by the amount of educational opportunities then and the conference is so much larger now.

Becoming More Involved in IACP: As a new chief with a small agency, I needed a source for innovation and ideas and the IACP became my “go to” for those resources. The IACP is for every agency regardless of size.

Favorite Part About Being in Law Enforcement: Being in law enforcement provides the opportunity to contribute to maintaining the quality of life for our citizens.

The Most Challenging Part of Law Enforcement: The law enforcement profession, arguably, may be facing the greatest challenge it has ever faced. Earning and maintaining the trust of the communities we serve can establish the foundation we need to be successful. Every challenge, creates the opportunity for us to be the example; it starts and ends with us.

One Piece of Advice for the Leaders of Tomorrow: Our profession is constantly evolving. Our leaders must be lifelong learners. Again, today’s challenges are tomorrow’s opportunities.


Name: Kristen Zimanziman1483_ppa

Title: Chief of Police

Agency: Aurora, Illinois, Police Department

Year Joined the IACP: 2010

Reason for Going into Law Enforcement: I knew I wanted to be a police officer from the time I was a youngster. My father was a cop and I was drawn to the notion that police officers were action-oriented. I recall being with my father on countless occasions where he told me to stay put in the car while he wrestled keys from a drunk driver who had just smashed into a toll booth or jumped out to assist people involved in an accident. It seemed like an adventurous profession and as I grew older, I wanted to be a part of something that put personal risk aside to help others. Plus, I could never visualize myself as a person who sat at a desk all day (the irony is not lost on me!).

First Heard about IACP: I taught for Franklin Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective Police Officers) so I was fortunate to attend an IACP conference by working the Franklin Covey booth at the expo hall when I was a sergeant and lieutenant. Even though I was there as part of the expo, I found ways to sneak into the breakout sessions and gather some intellect.

Becoming More Involved in IACP: IACP is the gold standard in law enforcement. The IACP dedicates time and resources to researching and implementing best practices. I wanted to be a part of that “think tank” that contributes to making better police departments and better officers.

Favorite Part About Being in Law Enforcement: I love everything about law enforcement. Every assignment from patrol all the way up to chief has become my favorite because each plays a crucial role. As a line level officer, I felt as though my work and actions were making an impact on individuals and the community as a whole. Now as chief, the decisions I make affect each police officer and it is my responsibility to take care of them so they can take care of our community.

The Most Challenging Part of Law Enforcement: The most challenging part of being in law enforcement is the negative perception that we continue to battle. When one officer tarnishes our badge, we are all painted with the same broad brush. I wish the public understood the depth and breadth of the commitment, compassion, and courage that the majority of our officers possess.

One Piece of Advice for the Leaders of Tomorrow: The advice I would give is that you are solely responsible for your own career. To be a leader, you have to take each and every opportunity that comes your way — even the ones that scare you. Sometimes the assignments you don’t want are the ones that mold you for the future.

Be relentless in pursuit of education. I pursued a bachelor’s degree at night while working full-time and raising two kids. I got my master’s degree by working on assignments during my kids’ soccer games and gymnastic meets. I went to the FBI National Academy. I attended Harvard by securing a grant when my police department didn’t have the funds to send me. Read everything you can get your hands on because the more you know, the better you will be at your job.

And above all, don’t compete against anyone. Your only competition is yourself and if you commit to constant self-improvement, you’ll get where you want to go.

Posted in Leadership

Police Chief Bonus Articles: Keeping You Informed Throughout the Month

Who doesn’t love a bonus? There’s no downside to getting something extra, especially if that bonus item is a resource containing valuable information, ideas, and updates.

But why read the bonus articles when you already get Police Chief each month?

PC Mag

  • New, Useful Information. Bonus articles aren’t online versions of the print articles; they are new, additional sources of information on relevant topics such as education and training, recruitment and personnel, terrorism, and technology.
  • Insight by Subject Matter Experts. These online-only articles provide you with access to the knowledge and experience of law enforcement leaders and experts. For example, articles such as “Teams Learning How to Learn: A Practical Framework for Achieving Team Learning,” provide tips and recommendations to help you and your team communicate more effectively.
  • Availability. Bonus articles are available to everyone, including those without a subscription. Visit the www.policechiefmagazine.org and keep up-to-date on the latest innovations in policing. These articles also provide a great opportunity for members to introduce colleagues to the IACP and Police Chief.
  • Immediate Access. Since a new online article is released every Wednesday, you no longer need to wait a full month to read the latest information. Additionally, online articles contain information that is unavailable in the print magazine. Find online bonus articles on how to recruit and work with millennials or how to tap into the Internet to make smart cities safer. Articles like these are valuable resources to help you identify leading practices that can help you in your daily policing duties.

The online articles are interesting and educational, just like each of the monthly Police Chief issues. For example, the recent article, “Innovative Technology to Investigate Targeted Mass Violence: What the Future Holds” is a fascinating and practical exploration of the impact that developing technology has on current procedures. How do first responders approach a crime scene? How will up-and-coming technology—the likes of which would have been considered science fiction several years ago—change that approach? This article tackles these questions, and more.

Police Chief Online has many valuable resources for IACP members, Police Chief subscribers, and law enforcement professionals worldwide—don’t miss out!

Posted in Police Chief magazine

Violence Against the Police – the Line Officers’ Perspective

In February 2017, as part of IACP President De Lucca’s Task Force to Address Global Violence Against Law Enforcement, IACP hosted a focus group with line officers to get their perspectives. The group consisted of 21 officers and first-line supervisors, varying in age and experience, from large, midsize, and smaller agencies around the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

Participants identified several themes they believe contribute to what they perceive is an increased threat environment.

Lack of Respect: A perceived erosion of respect for law enforcement authority was identified by participants as a primary reason officers feel their jobs are more dangerous today. Participants cited emboldened offenders who lack respect for police authority and are quick to challenge an officer’s legitimacy to enforce the law.

Policy: Some participants expressed frustration that policies and procedures – particularly those related to use of force – seem to change in response to incidents that have occurred around the United States, thereby creating confusion among officers.

Departmental Support: Participants noted variability in support officers receive from department leadership following critical incidents. Participants cited a perceived conflict of interest between a chief’s desire to simultaneously calm the community and support the officers involved. As a result, officers may be more hesitant to engage in proactive enforcement for fear of not only suffering bodily harm, but fear of lack of departmental support and/or being held civilly liable.

Legal/Judicial System: Participants expressed frustration with the system’s inability to keep violent offenders incarcerated. Equally frustrating was the perception of local prosecutors’ unwillingness to litigate cases, opting instead for plea deals resulting in the early release of often violent offenders.

Technology: Some participants stated that an increased reliance on technology, including body cameras, can have a distracting effect on officers in the field. Officers voiced concern that smartphones, in-car computers, and other technology can serve as a distraction, diminishing their situational awareness and thus increasing the danger to them.

Media: Officers expressed frustration with both social and traditional mass media, perceiving these media as often overly critical of law enforcement. Officers indicated they fear being second-guessed in the media (and ultimately the community) for performing their jobs, particularly if it results in a recorded physical confrontation.

Training: Officers stated that some training they and their peers receive does not have immediate applicability to the daily challenges they face. As an example, officers stated that since 9/11, training on mass casualty events has increased, while training on day-to-day challenges like felony car stops, standard traffic stops, and non-compliant individuals is rare.

This line officers’ focus group on violence against the police provided an essential frontline perspective for the Task Force. Discussion was candid, forthright, and provides insight into the officer’s point of view. While the group was limited to the local region, many of the sentiments echo those heard during last year’s Listening Tour sessions around the U.S.

Posted in Crime and Violence | Tagged

SDHP Making a Difference in the Community

SD BadgeThe state of South Dakota covers 77,184 square miles and is patrolled by 189 sworn personnel in the South Dakota Highway Patrol (SDHP). In addition to patrolling the highways, the SDHP has two SWAT teams, a Police Services dog unit, an accident reconstruction team, a crash assistance program, a motor carrier district, and capitol protective services. Among all these responsibilities and more, the SDHP works on a variety of community policing projects.  Last year, District One, Aberdeen held a successful community policing project to help shed even more positive light on law enforcement in South Dakota.

Trooper Ben Pallesen came up with an idea to help a local community. One night when Trooper Pallesen was on patrol, a burglary in progress call came over the radio.  While investigating the call, the Trooper was led to a wooded area that was poorly lighted, contained a lot of dead timber, and a lot of trash and broken bottles. As Trooper Palleson exited the wooded area, he noticed that it turned into a park where kids could play. Trooper Palleson thought to himself, “Would I let my kids play here and is it even safe?”

basketball

Trooper Pallenson thought that with seven other people, they could clean up the area in about eight hours. Trooper Palleson knew this was a community policing project the SDHP would embrace, so he started talking with folks about the project. And it took off from there. Like any good community policing project, many partners were involved. The Sisseton Wahpeton Housing Authority, the Sisseton Wahpeton Tribal Police, the Roberts County Sheriff’s Office, the South Dakota Motor Carrier Port of Entry, the City of Sisseton Street Department, and the Glacial Lakes Squad of the SD Highway Patrol all lent a hand.

Trooper Pallesen had a conversation with Tribal Police Chief Gary Gaikowski about the idea. “Most folks only see the tribe and state working to enforce laws,” said Trooper Pallesen. Chief Gaikowski liked the project idea and was willing to assist. Chief Gaikowsi got J.C. Crawford of the Sisseton Wahpeton Housing Authority and the Stillson family involved. The Stillson family is a well-known local family that owns the land that leads up to the park. They committed to bringing a skid loader and a truck to the project.

Unfortunately, the day of the project, the folks who were going to supply the truck and tools needed weren’t available. Not to be deterred, Trooper Palleson spoke to the maintenance staff at the housing authority. Trooper Palleson explained the project and said he didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to complete the project. Trooper Palleson eventually convinced the maintenance staff to help out.

tractorAbout 30 people showed up to help with the project which was many more than expected.  About half were cutting trees and the other half were picking up trash. The entire project took five hours. “The Stillson brothers brought coffee, juice, and donuts; citizens stopped by; basketball nets and new lighting were installed; and we received a lot of good feedback. We put it out on social media and received some good newspaper coverage as well,” said Pallesen.

Trooper Palleson continued, “This was a great example of different departments coming together. There was a tribal crew, a city crew, and the SDHP crew. It shed a light on the community. Yes, SDHP enforces laws and keeps roads safe, but we are willing to work together to benefit the whole community. Together we improved the aesthetics of the landscape, while also making the park safe and enjoyable for locals and children.”

Trooper Pallesen was born and raised in the area that received the help. “I now see kids out there playing basketball at 10 p.m. at night. It’s a sense of pride for us and for the community.”

According to Greg Stillson, “It was good for folks to see the troopers and us working together. To work so closely on a community policing level, to protect our parks and our natural resources was a great experience. We are all the same no matter our uniform, our parents, or our background. Projects like this only make our relationship better. A lot of people saw the troopers out there, confirming SDHP will go the extra mile.”

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. South Dakota Highway Patrol 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.

COPS CNA IACP

 

Posted in Community-Police Relations

Reaching Your Potential on Department Facebook Pages

Guest blogger: Katie Nelson, Social Media and Public Relations Coordinator, Mountain View, California, Police Department

In the ever-uphill climb to maintain a presence on Facebook, department Pages are facing the difficult task of not only reaching their followers, but making their content shareable.

Once, a good metric for your efforts was your follower base. It showed you how many people followed your Page and who were likely to interact or at least see your content.

That has since changed. As the platform has continued to advance for individual users, Facebook has started to label followers on Pages as more of a “vanity number.” In other words, that metric is no longer entirely reliable when it comes to assessing your success on Facebook.

Yes, those with more followers are more likely to have people react to their content, but what Facebook truly analyzes is the reach – organic, paid, and total — on a particular post. So, if an agency with a small follower base posts a viral video that has an incredible reach on the same day as a larger agency with a bigger following posts content that is unlikely to be shared, guess which agency is more likely to be promoted to individual feeds based on Facebook’s rationale?

Organic reach, as defined by Facebook, is “the total number of unique people who were shown your post through unpaid distribution.” Paid reach is the total number of people who saw your post through a paid ad. Total reach, according to Facebook, is “the number of unique people who saw your posts, regardless of where they saw it.”

So, how do you ensure that your content has as much chance as possible to be seen by not only your follower base, but by anyone who could be potentially be impacted by your content?

Captions. If you have a video that you are sharing, add captions. Facebook now allows you to add captions to produced video content so that people who are either hard of hearing or prefer to watch a video without audio can still understand what is being conveyed. Captions, according to Facebook, actually give you 20% more reach on your content.

Cover Videos. Facebook recently launched an option to turn your cover photos into cover videos. It’s no secret that Facebook is pushing produced videos to the forefront of their sharable content. By changing your cover photo to a video, you increase your chances of people landing on your page, staying engaged with it and watching what else you may have on your page.

Events. When you have events that you would like to promote, such as the upcoming annual National Night Out, Facebook has suggested creating a Facebook Event to increase engagement options with users and followers. Facebook Events have become particularly successful on mobile platforms, so move away from stagnant event posts with photos and use this as an opportunity to get people excited about an upcoming interaction with their local law enforcement. While Facebook suggests at certain times even paying to promote an event, many of us do not have a budget or cannot justify spending money on something such as promoting a Coffee with a Cop. But, knowing that Facebook Events is particularly successful on smart phones (which most of our community members have) is a great start.

360 Photos and Videos. Finally, though these options have been out for some time, Facebook is increasingly pushing for both individual users and pages to start utilizing 360 photos and video. A 360 photo has far more reach potential than a stagnant photo. A 360 degree photo or video is a panoramic shot that can be taken on your smartphone and then uploaded to Facebook to allow users a total view of a particular scene or scenario. To learn more about how to create a 360 photo or video, visit: https://www.facebook.com/facebookmedia/get-started/360

Overall, the goal is to be likeable and shareable. You should be aware that at least on Facebook, you are sharing and providing information and content for well beyond your follower base. It is time to start thinking globally about your audience reach, while still making sure you speak to your residents.

With two billion users worldwide now on Facebook, it’s time to realize that Facebook isn’t just about connecting you with your neighbor, it’s about showcasing your department to the masses.

Posted in Social Media