This post is part of our ongoing #WhyIWearTheBadge Wednesday blog series.
The Arlington, Texas, Police Department has been posting regular updates across all of our social media platforms to support the #WhyIWearTheBadge campaign. This blog posting will highlight some easy ways to show off the great work through photos that is consistently occurring in your organizations. With the national debate on the legitimacy of policing that is occurring across communities around America, it is now more important than ever to showcase the reason why the majority of us joined this honorable profession.
Let’s face it. All of us have a reason why we raised our hand and swore an oath to protect our community and this great nation. We have to continually earn the right to police our communities every single day and essentially, our badge, along with the great responsibility it symbolizes, are considered “on-loan” to us from our communities. This vast responsibility requires us to be proactive and share the countless stories that highlight our diversity as a profession and demonstrates our unwavering commitment to upholding our oath. By participating with IACP, community trust can be elevated through the personal sharing of stories via social media posts, videos and other testimonials at community events and meetings.
As the proliferation of social media continues to evolve, it is now easier than ever to support the IACP #WhyIWearTheBadge initiative. Let’s look at one of the simplest ways to get started, which deals with photos. It has been said many times that a photo is worth a thousand words. It has been our experience that a photo can captivate the community thereby increasing the reach of a particular post.
Arlington will take a nice photo of an officer or we will utilize an action shot that someone may have sent us. We then utilize a mobile app to add some simple graphics and text to the photograph. We typically brand the photo also with our badge and patch logo. After the graphic has been created with the photo, we then post it on Twitter and Facebook along with a highlighted story about why the officer joined the profession.
The community feedback has been amazing. Most of us already know that social media allows law enforcement organizations to humanize their staff through the sharing of photos, videos and stories. The #WhyIWearTheBadge campaign is a natural fit for social media to spread the word quickly while at the same time breaking down barriers that might exist in the community. Here are some of the specific steps we use to create a simple photo graphic that you can replicate. It only takes about two minutes from start to finish.
1. Take a picture of an officer or deputy
2. Save a blue line onto your photo reel on your mobile phone (The line should be transparent PNG)
3. Load the photo into a mobile app called “Union” on the iPhone platform
4. While in the mobile app, place the photo in the “Background” and place the blue line in the “Foreground”
5. Next, export the photo to your camera roll and then load it into a text app that lets you write text within the blue line
6. We use “Phonto” but any text app should work
7. We brand each photo with the hashtag #WhyIWearTheBadge and then export the image back into the camera roll
8. Next, if you so desire, you can use an app called “iWatermark” to add a transparent organization logo
9. Cross promote the photograph and story across all your social media platforms to enhance the overall reach
It is literally that simple to create a professional looking graphic through a mobile phone. Yes, you can certainly do the same thing with Adobe Photoshop or some other commercial program, however we typically post things quickly directly from our mobile devices in the field. I want to touch real quickly on where the talent and stories come from. No matter how small or large your organization is, there are people that have amazing stories on why they put their badge on every day. Stories could also come from a hero type of event where someone saved another person from a burning building or car crash. The possibilities are only limited by your innovative thinking on how we can do a better job as a profession in promoting our law enforcement personnel in a positive light. We have posted #WhyIWearTheBadge stories on interacting with youth, singing the National Anthem at a ballgame, and pulling kids to safety during traumatic events. All of these types of feel-good stories resonate with our community and position our police department on higher ground.
Our next blog postwill focus on how to create a simple video to support the campaign. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need help or you typically use the Android platform. Typically, Android has a similar program that mirrors iOS. We hope to see everyone in Chicago at the annual conference!