Guest Blogger: Chris Perkins, Chief of Police, Roanoke, Virginia, Police Department
Citizens have responded to video profiles of officers and videos of officers training to be come bike-certified. They’ve also enjoyed the virtual tour of our training academy and virtual tours of staged crime scenes in which they were challenged to locate evidence in an attempt to solve a fictitious crime. We even polled our citizens on Facebook to find out what they enjoyed the most and what they liked the least. Announcements about upcoming events and pictures from those events tied for first place with photographs of wanted subjects. These were followed by posts that featured officers and posts that included crime statistics.
While “cold case” homicide profiles and information about traffic enforcement received the fewest amount of votes, those topics are still posted. A profile of a cold case may encourage someone to come forward with information that will solve the case. And since citizens often complain about traffic enforcement, it is important to let them know that traffic safety is a priority to the department.
Since March 1, 2011, our Facebook following has increased by more than 1,100 “likes.” We hope to gain more “likes” as we launch a program in which citizens can access a website from our Facebook page that will allow them to map Part 1 Crimes in their neighborhoods dating back six months. The program also enables them to anonymously text a tip regarding any crime to the police department. This furthers our mission of moving from traditional community policing to cyber community policing and expecting our citizens to become stakeholders in the community we share.
IACP 2011 has special workshops covering social media issues for law enforcement. For information, to register, and to secure housing, visit http://www.theiacpconference.org.
The IACP Center for Social Media has a corresponding blog, The Social Media Beat. Bloggers include IACP staff and practitioners in the field who can provide a unique frontline perspective about law enforcement’s use of social media. For more on social media best practices, visit http://blog.iacpsocialmedia.org.