No Twitter in Georgia

Oktwitter-793050 (1).  I have to admit the title is misleading.  I am not talking about the State of Georgia.  Instead, I am talking about the Republic of Georgia, formerly part of Russia.  Georgia is the birthplace of Stalin and location of his museum.  Georgia is the country that fired its entire police department to get a fresh start.  I recently traveled to Georgia with my good friend Tim Burrows to conduct media relations and social media for law enforcement training. 

The Republic of Georgia has come a long way since the days of Stalin and since they began rebuilding their police department from scratch.  With the aid of the United States, the police department is now a modern, professional police department operating in a transparent manner serving and protecting their community.  They have begun using social media and currently have approximately 15 different Facebook pages across many of their departments.  However, their use of social media ends there.

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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.  

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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.

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Use Twitter for Breaking News

I have talked about law enforcement using Twitter for critical events and breaking news on several blog posts and during several presentations I have made over the last year.  Twitter is a great platform to push information out because people typically gravitate towards Twitter when something big happens in their community.  Heck, our world is so small today.  It really doesn’t matter where something happens geographically.  People from across the globe will immediately search Twitter for the appropriate hashtag so they can follow the event.

I recently spoke at the International Association of Chiefs of Police PIO Section Mid-Year Conference in Arlington, Texas.  The conference had many topical presentations of interest to PIO’s across the country.  Several PIO’s and police officers presented case studies about incidents they had experienced in their jurisdiction and their response to and management of the media.

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Top 7 #LESM Tweets of the Week 5/25-5/31

Ok.  Here are some of the top #LESM tweets for this week.  I hope you enjoy!

  1. https://blog.bufferapp.com/optimal-length-social-media?utm_content=buffer00d7f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Buffer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.   http://thepolicepodcast.libsyn.com/ 

TimBurrowsPod

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.http://www.searchenginejournal.com/moving-dial-curated-content/115308/?utm_content=buffer59d7c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

mikebires

 

 

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Leadership Matters

The news lately hasn’t been very good.  Every day brings a new controversy with the police squarely in the middle.  A questionable use of force, a controversial arrest or an unfortunate death seems to be the rule.  Lately, several uses of force have resulted in widespread riots in various communities and police officers being arrested.  How can we address these widespread issues locally?  The answer is by demonstrating leadership.

Leadership matters.  Many of these incidents share one thing in common; a lack of leadership.  In many cases, a lack of leadership on the part of the political leaders and in some cases a lack of leadership on the part of the police department.  No matter the situation, leadership does matter.

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Georgian Police Engage the Media and Use Social Media

Tim Burrows and I recently traveled to Georgia, not the state but the country, for the Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) program to provide media relations and social media training for the Georgian Police.  We conducted some preliminary research and arrived prepared to share our experiences and offer our insight into ways to improve their relationship with the media and how to use social media more effectively.

This was my second trip to Georgia and we arrived a little tired from the long trip but excited about the opportunity.  Our hotel was in the capital of Tbilisi located about 30 minutes from the Georgia Police Academy, where we conducted our training.

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