The Boston Bombing Remembered

Chief DeveauxRecently, I had an opportunity to travel to the 2015 Police Innovations Conference in Cambridge, MA.  The organizers put together a great conference with some informative panels discussing cutting edge technology.  I even had the opportunity to participate in two panels; one about public comments on social media platforms and the other about body worn cameras.  However, one of the most interesting parts of the trip happened outside of the conference.

I had the good fortune to meet retired Chief Ed Deveau who recently retired from the Watertown Police Department.  Chief Deveau now works for one of the vendors at the conference and I had the opportunity to get to know him at a reception one night.  We swapped a lot of stories about our 30+ year careers.  Chief Deveau then shared the story of the Boston Bombing and specifically the details about the gun battle his officers engaged in with the Tsarnaev brothers four days after the bombing.  He shared the call he received in the middle of the night, his response and the heroic effort of his officers during the shooting as well as during the capture of Tamerlan.

Continue reading

A Periscope Oops!

screenfaceWe have come to expect people to do really stupid things and post it on social media.  For some reason, people enjoy being ridiculed, being the center of attention or are just too messed up to realize what they are doing.

In a lot of cases, people share posts about their illegal activity and end up being arrested.  The convicted felon posts a photo of him holding a gun.  Another subject sets up a drug deal on social media and is surprised when the police show up.  Illegal activity is posted online frequently.

We as law enforcement are not surprised by these types of incidents.  We have come to expect them.  Frankly, we have seen it all.  However, a recent video posted on Periscope surprised even the most seasoned veteran.

Continue reading

Social Media Spectacle

Reporter ShootingThe unthinkable happened recently.  A reporter, a cameraman and an on-air guest were gunned down in Roanoke, Virginia by a disgruntled employee.  Unfortunately, the killing of two people and wounding of another in and of itself is not that remarkable.  What made this incident so shocking was the fact it was the news media that was targeted and it happened on live television. 

In what can only be described as very disturbing, the suspect used a camera, recorded the shooting and uploaded it along with various comments to Twitter and Facebook.  The suspect not only had a desire to kill people, he also wanted to make sure the world would see what he had done.  Fortunately, both Facebook and Twitter closed his account quickly but not before the video was viewed and shared by many.

Continue reading

Policing Turned Upside Down

Upside Down Police Car PIn light of the recent discourse about police use of force across the country, one of the biggest fears that I have is that one of the officers I am privileged to work with will hesitate to use force when it should be used and that failure to use force will result in the injury or death of the officer or another person.  I am sure other Police Chiefs across the country share a similar concern.

Recently, a disgusting photo surfaced on social media which showed a Detective with the Birmingham, Alabama Police Department knocked out on the pavement after having been pistol whipped by a suspect after a traffic stop.  What made the situation even worse, if it could be worse, was that these photos were posted on social media mocking the officer.  I couldn’t help but think about this officer’s family and how those photos affected them, especially since they saw the photos before the department had time to contact them about the incident.  

Continue reading

Wearing Body Worn Cameras Should be Mandatory

Body cameraIn general, law enforcement agencies have resisted reforms even when those reforms have been proven to be effective in saving lives, providing better service or improving inefficiencies.  Resisted might be too strong of a word.  We have been slow to adopt changes even though these changes are for the better. 

As an example, only recently has most agencies adopted a mandatory seat belt policy for officers.  Even today, some departments do not require their officers to wear a seat belt even though it has been proven that wearing a seat belt saves lives; even though most departments work to educate the public about this life saving device; even though all states have a mandatory seat belt law.

Similarly, body armor is a lifesaver for police officers, yet many departments do not provide this equipment for their officers or have a mandatory wear policy.  A recent survey suggested that over 90% of police departments now require officers to wear body armor compared to 59% in 2009, which is a big improvement.

Continue reading

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. 

Continue reading

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? 

Continue reading