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Social Media is No Place to Report Crime

In days gone by, the only way to call the police to report a crime was to use the telephone. This involved calls coming into a call box where a police officer was stationed. With the advent of radios, the police could be dispatched to a call from a vehicle or while walking a beat. They no longer had to hang around the call box. Then 9-1-1 revolutionized the emergency call by bringing caller information into the equation. Now, social media has provided another avenue to report crime to the police.

Unfortunately, social media is not really a good place for a citizen to report a crime. Social media is a great communication tool and certainly facilitates many conversations and interactions with the police. However, the reporting of crime via social media is not one of the conversations that should occur. Instead, citizens should always call 9-1-1 to report a crime.

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To Post or Not to Post, That is the Question

Most law enforcement agencies that use social media do a pretty good job of posting information that is of interest to their community and adds value.  In many cases, the decision about what to post is pretty easy and in other cases can be difficult.  But what happens when the incident in question involves a public figure?  Several agencies have recently faced this dilemma.

This issue can be very problematic and difficult to handle appropriately.  The public may want to have the information posted citing a right to know or that it is public information and should be released.  In contrast, the public figure in question may argue that the department is treating his or her incident differently than others.  Either way, the agency is put in a bad position.

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Stop & Shake

Over the last several years, the stop and frisk has been analyzed, debated and even litigated.  There is a wide array of opinions about its effectiveness.  In general, law enforcement supports stop and frisk as a great crime prevention and detection tool as do the courts.  However, many in the community do not.  With the conversations and publicity surrounding several officer involved shootings recently, the vitriol directed at police has increased tremendously damaging police and community relations.

In order to strengthen his relationship with his police department, one resident had a simple idea that could have a profound outcome.  The community was Yonkers, NY and the resident was Hector Santiago.  He used a really clever play on words for the program.  The normal police stop & frisk of citizens changed to a citizen stop & shake of officers.  The idea is for citizens to see a police officer, stop the officer and have a photo taken of them shaking the officer’s hand.  What a great idea! Continue reading

Television Fast

Three weeks ago, Vertical Life Church began its annual fast.  Partners were encouraged to do a fast related to food and a fast from something else in our lives.  I thought about what I could fast from.  I guess I wanted to pick something I would miss but also something that wouldn’t be too painful, so I decided to fast from watching television.

I don’t think I watch a lot of television.  I watch the news most days and a few shows each week.  Most of the shows I watch are recorded on my DVR so I can watch them at my convenience.  Still, I was a little nervous about this challenge.

During my fast, I found I had much more time to focus on more important things and stuff I had been putting off.  In fact, I began some projects that I had been kicking around but hadn’t made time to begin.  As I thought about it, I realized all us have stuff in our lives that take up a lot of our time and we don’t even realize it.  Continue reading

Just Getting Started

After careful consideration, I have decided to develop this website and blog.  I did not make this decision lightly.  My full-time job keeps me pretty busy along with my grandson and other endeavors.  However, I have been interested in law enforcement’s use of social media for a number of years.  This interest has only increased over the past year with the negative rhetoric directed at police officers.

I believe law enforcement agencies and law enforcement leaders can benefit from using social media to engage their communities and promote all of their positive interactions and accomplishments with the community.  Although there are many agencies and leaders using social media effectively, I believe there are many more either not using it or not doing so effectively.  I hope in some way I may be able to help. Continue reading