FROM THE CHIEF
Originally published in the LoopWeekly July 2017
In my last commentary on social media I spoke about our commitment to engage with our community through two-way communication and I addressed the question “Why does Methuen police need to be on social media?”
With the vast amount of information to address I felt it was better to break this topic out into two articles. In this writing I will cover the other two questions I routinely receive about our social media presence.
Isn’t this just a public relations ploy to make us look better? I say no to this. We are absolutely thrilled when we receive positive stories, compliments on our work and just a plain thank you. Our use of social media is about connecting with our residents and business community. It is about spreading the word to our youth, our schools and all those who visit our community. Would you have ever thought that a message a police department made public would reach thousands of people in a matter of a few hours? Prior to seven years ago I would not believe this was possible without the help of a television news crew. On average our posts range from 3,000 to 9,000 people reached and in some case we have seen as many as 69,000 people reached. You cannot underestimate the reach of social media or the attraction it has to those you serve.
We have published missing person posters, wanted individual posters; Pleas for our communities help in identifying or location someone and through the POWER of social media we have reached tens of thousands of individuals in a few shot hours. We have solved crimes and located missing children and missing adults all with a Tweet, a Facebook post and/or a Youtube video.
Today we do it from our phone, tablets, and laptops. It is like magic at our fingertips.
Is this what police officers should be doing on the public’s dime? This is exactly what you should hope that your police department is doing. If your police department is not utilizing social media to engage their community then they are losing the battle of public opinion and information dissemination. The ability to engage an entire community or the entire world with a single push of a button has magnified the presence of our police department in a way that cannot be calculated. Community service and public engagement are goals of our department, and with the help of our computers, tablets and cell phones we are reaching many more of our residents than we ever could reach in person. Social media is not a replacement for our face to face community outreach. It is just another tool to help us help you and to make the connection that leads to in person connections.
One of the most enjoyable things for me to meet residents and business owners around town and talk about our community, our police department and what we can do to make their lives safer.
Visit us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @Methuen Police to read more about what we do to serve and protect our community.
Our social media address is uniform (pun intended). Just add /methuenpolice to the end of the URL address at twitter.com, facebook.com, Instagram.com and youtube.com.
Please like, share and follow us to receive updates on what is happening in our city. If you have questions, comments or would like to tell us something, please engage us on any one of our social media sites. I look forward to hearing from you.
The editor posed the following question to me about this article, Chief can you tell us about your speech at the SMILE conference in Long Beach Ca. in April 2017?
In response to this question I provide the following information. The SMILE conference is an annual International conference on Social Media in Law Enforcement. Based on that past several years of successful use of social media in connecting with our community; I was honored by being invited to be the 2017 keynote speaker. This year’s conference was attended by law enforcement members from the United States, Canada and Europe. My presentation focused on Implementing Video into the Police Media Office to Engage Your Community.
I covered the When and Now in law enforcement community engagement. We learn a lot from looking back to techniques and tactics that were employed to accomplish the stated goal. Our success in this area has been our ability to take these methods and revise them to fit our current social culture. We have found one of our most successful outreach tools has been the use of video messages to our community. These messages range from 2-3 minutes on an emerging issue all the way up to the recoding of events that may run 30-45 minutes. We use these videos to get the message out to the masses and include a link so more details can be provided to those who wish to learn more.
One major outcome from this conference was the networking with social media officers and civilians from different countries and from all over the United States. We have created a communication channel that all the attendees can share information and challenge each other to be better at what we do and to ponder newer ways and methods to better connect with those we serve. We are currently working on an international social media sharing network to include an officer exchange program.
As I mentioned in my last the value of our social media team; this presentation would not have been possible without Officer Gina Scanlon and Officer Derek Licata’s collaboration.
Connect with our community outreach team members on Twitter:
Officer Scanlon: @OffScanlon
Officer Licata: @OffLicata
Capt Haggar: @CaptHaggar
Sgt Havey: @SgtHavey
Sgt Lever: @SgtLever
Officer O’Connell: @OffDanOConnell
Officer Mueskes: @OffMueskes