Transparency: A Must Have for Law Enforcement

In years past, many police departments operated in almost complete secrecy.  The community knew very little about what the department was doing except in the most extreme cases involving terrible tragedies.  The culture of law enforcement perpetuated this belief that citizens were better off, and so were police departments, if citizens were kept in the dark.  As times changed and the thought process of law enforcement leaders evolved, we began to see the value of community involvement and partnerships.  The birth of community oriented policing and all of the off shoots of that movement opened up communication with citizens like never before.  Law enforcement held community meetings to talk about crime, disseminated information via email lists and was more open to sharing information than ever before.  Today, thanks to social media, information sharing and transparency have become synonymous.  This transparency is truly law enforcement’s best friend.

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The #LESM Conference

LESM Conference LogoThe online #LESM Conference is less than six days away.  Have you or your staff signed up for it yet?  If not, let me tell you why you should.

The use of social media by law enforcement has never been more important than it is today.  At a time when the relationship between many communities and law enforcement is strained, social media can be used as a bridge builder, a force multiplier and a digital expansion of an agencies community policing efforts.  Social media can be a true difference maker!

The #LESM Conference provides a great line-up of social media subject matter experts providing a wide range of important topics of benefit to any agency using social media or considering using social media. 

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Periscope as a Crime Fighting Tool

PeriscopeI ran across an interesting article about the Bengarulu Police Department in India deciding to use Periscope.  That part of the story was not noteworthy.  In fact, many departments are using Periscope to broadcast press conferences and various community events.  The Dallas Police Department recently used Periscope to broadcast their press conference about the gunman who attacked their department.  Check out this video about the Boca Raton Police Department using Periscope.  In an interesting turn of events, the Police Commissioner of Bengarulu, M.N. Reddi, would like citizens to use Periscope to live-stream crimes in progress via Periscope.  Is this practical or should it even be considered?

Commissioner Reddi is a #LESM influencer in his country and has over 290,000 followers on Twitter @CPBlr, so when he speaks, people listen.  But, does what he says have any practical value?  Law enforcement has always asked our citizens to be good witnesses without putting themselves at risk.  The question is would using Periscope to live-stream crimes in progress put citizens at risk? 

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Public Shaming on Social Media

Over the last several years, Social media has evolved and is now being widely used to “out” people or “shame” them for various infractions or perceived transgressions.  Husbands shame their wives; wives shame their husbands; and parents shame their children.  One of the most infamous shaming of a teenager happened in 2012 when a dad read a letter and then shot his daughter’s computer.  Sadly, a 13 year old teenager recently killed herself after her father posted a video of him punishing her on YouTube.

SM Blocks

Racists Getting Fired on Tumblr has a mission to bring attention to racist comments on social media and contact the employer of those who made them.  There is a widespread trend in California by many to shame those who are using excessive water or violating the water restrictions in the state.  The hashtag #droughtshaming has been used extensively

CNN had a good piece identifying numerous examples of social media shaming.  They identified some of the long term consequences affecting the offenders.  In most of these cases, individuals are the ones doing the shaming.  What happens when the one doing the shaming is the local police department?

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