Officer Use of Force Incidents: Social Media Use Before & After

Police Use of Force CoverOver the last several years, officer use of force incidents have become the center of attention across the United States.  With the widespread use and availability of video, hardly a day goes by that a police use of force incident is released to the public.  Video recorded on cell phones has become the norm and as more and more police agencies begin using body worn video, this trend will continue to expand.

Once you have an officer use of force incident, especially if it is a shooting, all of the attention of the community, media and social media will laser focus on the officer.  Numerous parties will dissect his or her life, work history and personal opinions. The media, the public, and haters across the globe will search for any information they can find, hoping to get more information about the officer in question.  Some of these individuals searching hope to confirm some predisposed opinion of the officer that may or may not match the reality of the incident under scrutiny.

Three precautions can be taken to help protect an officer if he or she is ever involved in a use of force incident that garners such widespread attention.

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Ratings and Review Feature on Law Enforcement Facebook Page

Review ImageI have written a great deal lately about the importance of having a strong Terms of Use for government Facebook pages to help minimize the headaches and potential liability associated with negative comments.  Check out a suggested Terms of Use for a Government Facebook page at

Equally important, but not mentioned often, is the ability for a fan to rate a Facebook page and write a review.  This action must be monitored and addressed appropriately by Government Facebook page administrators or the reputation of the department may suffer.

Facebook provides an opportunity for fans to rate a Facebook page between one star and five stars.  In addition to the star rating, fans can leave a written review.  According to Facebook, the review should focus on the product or service offered by the page and must be based on personal experience.  Those fans leaving reviews must abide by the Community Standards of Facebook.  What does this have to do with a law enforcement Facebook page?  I am glad you asked.

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Facebook Live vs. Periscope


Image from Facebook

In August, Facebook released Mentions which opened up live streaming video for athletes, politicians, musicians and other people of influence.  Unfortunately, they did not release the app to the rest of us as individuals or as law enforcement agencies.  Instead, they decided to roll their live streaming video out slowly. 

Meanwhile, Periscope is growing exponentially, especially among law enforcement agencies.  Periscope is being used to live stream community events, press conferences, educational opportunities and a myriad of other police activities.  In August, Periscope passed 10 million users. 

Can Facebook live video streaming compete with Periscope?  I will answer that question in just a minute.

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