Our social:

Post from category:

What’s Your Communications Preparedness Level?

by Julie Parker

At a time when law enforcement crisis messaging is arguably scrutinized more than ever before, how ready is your police department for when the unthinkable strikes? Ready not from a tactical or operational standpoint, but rather from a communications preparedness level. Think of any of the recent mass shootings this country has experienced. Now consider those heinous acts purely from the way those law enforcement agencies tackled the daunting task of managing the explanation of the inexplicable. Consumers of news quickly form a perception of a department, accurately or not, based on the way in which the news was released. In just a few terrifying hours, you act as a voyeur, from the safety of your home, car or workplace and watch or listen to the news that agency is sharing and make a judgment. If the emergency hits home, your law enforcement agency may solidify its community’s trust and confidence in it, at a minimum, damage it, or worst case scenario, lose trust and confidence altogether. There are ways you can prepare now to ensure you’re ready for what will hopefully never be needed.

1) Relationship with local reporters and assignment editors

While you may well be on a first name basis with reporters who regularly cover your agency, what about the editors or assignment desk editors, many of whom would also likely be reaching out to you during a crisis? Make an effort now to get to know some. Visit a newsroom. Invite those editors to a media breakfast at your headquarters or district station. Keep newsroom phone numbers handy for when you need the media to get out information immediately on your behalf.

2) Relationship between government agencies

Ensure you have established a working relationship with fellow PIOs. The time to meet someone is not during a crisis. You should have spokesperson contact information for major fellow agencies such as your Sheriff’s department, Fire, Schools, Mayor or County Executive, Office of Emergency Management, etc. or neighboring LE agencies to include federal, state and local counterparts. Consider hosting a crisis communications drill and include your counterparts in your city or county government.

3) Internal relationships

Does your chief of police or sheriff know you, the PIO, need to be seated by his or her side through a majority of a crisis? When you’re racing the clock and under the intense pressure of an international media circus, it’s not the time to sort out whether a PIO is on the command bus or in the EOC or JIC with the principles. Has your PIO ever discussed with the commander of your SWAT team or the appropriate designee that communications during a crisis has to be relayed to your media or public affairs division? That may well be the furthest thing from that commander’s mind and establishing that concept in advance is crucial. If you have a staff who reports to you, is the team prepared for what to do the moment that first call comes in indicating what’s unfolding?

4) Relationship with your community and the greater public

Evaluate your social media presence. A new year is the perfect time to take note of your various platforms and the following you’ve built. Are your audiences as robust as they could be? What can you do to get them to grow? Those followers are not the result of a popularity contest. They are an audience you’ve built based on sharing valuable and accurate content. They will turn to you and share your message exponentially when you have critical and possibly life-saving information to share. Beyond social media, is your department actively engaged in community policing, citizens advisory councils, police youth groups, etc.? Having a core group of supporters who can share your message within their neighborhoods is invaluable.

All of these points will be central to helping you be prepared for a crisis. It’s important for your executive command staff to know your agency will strive to get out your messages early, often and accurately. And that you’re not doing that simply to “help the media.” Reporters will be sharing your story and, ideally, it will be told as your agency would like. However, ultimately, the goal is for your citizens to understand precisely how its public servants are serving them during their hour(s) of desperate need.

parkerj250Julie Parker will be presenting on this topic at the upcoming SMILE Conference, April 25-28 in Alexandria, VA. Parker has an extensive background in television and radio news, media relations and crisis communications. Ms. Parker also serves as the Director of the Media Relations Division for one of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies. Ms. Parker serves as principal communications advisor to the Chief of Police & other executive command staff and is responsible for key messages, media strategy and the creation and management of a robust social media operation. Her work is credited with helping rebrand a once-troubled department’s reputation. Ms. Parker also spent 13 years reporting, anchoring and hosting in Washington, DC, most recently for ABC7 News where she won both an Emmy Award and an Edward R. Murrow Award. You can find her at @PGPDJulie or info@julieparkercommunications.com.

The Levels and Types of Armor Available for Officers

by Chris Taylor, SafeGuard Armor

Officers are required to fulfill a wide range of roles and responsibilities working in law. These responsibilities can vary greatly from situation to situation and from location to location. For example, officers working in rural locations will face greatly different challenges and threats compared to an officer working in an urban location, or even working in a different rural location. Nevertheless, any threat facing a law enforcement officer can potentially be a serious one, and keeping our officers protected is of the utmost importance. Violence and injury may never be removed from an officer’s line of work, but protection is available, and body armor is a useful method of doing so.

However, there are a wide range of body armors available, all with their advantages and disadvantages. For example, body armor is available in different styles depending on the situation, and in various protection levels depending on the threats they can protect against. Understanding the options available is important for Officers to choose the protective option most suitable for their work.

Officers will already be well aware of the importance of body armor, as the last year saw nearly 60,000 assaults on Officers according to Government statistics. It is imperative that those brave men and women charged with protecting and serving our communities are protected against attacks, and yet it is not only violence that can cause serious injury and even death to Officers. In 2013 49 law enforcement officers were killed accidentally, with the majority of these deaths occurring in automobile accidents. Most do not realize that bullet proof vests can provide some protection against impact trauma, meaning that even in a car crash body armor can save an Officer’s life.

Selecting the Right Rugged Mobile Computer for Public Safety Personnel

Tom Wang, VP, GammaTech

There are probably no jobs tougher or more challenging than those found in the public safety sector. Serving and protecting total strangers can be very demanding, to say the least.

Chasing fleeing subjects, driving at high speeds over surfaces not intended for vehicular traffic. Rushing into burning buildings to rescue men, women, children, and all manner of animals. Venturing out to a crime scene, fire, accident, or to take care of someone who has fallen ill. No matter what the situation, speed and accuracy are at the forefront of what they do.

The extreme rigors of the various jobs performed by these individuals demand rugged, dependable, and portable notebook computers and tablets for use on duty. Mobile solutions built tough to take it on the chin and not back down. Mobile solutions specifically engineered to ensure the performance public safety workers need and the reliability they can count on every time they answer a call.

A Tweet-a-thon for Crime Stoppers, Dec 5th

by Jeanean Thomas
On June 27, 2014 the third #PolTwt was held by LAws Communications and ConnectedCops.net. Waterloo Regional Crime Stoppers, in spite of not being a police agency, registered to participate in the online event because they felt they had valuable information to contribute to the conversation. It was during the course of this event that @WaterlooCrime noticed the participation of two other Crime Stoppers organizations in the event; Crime Stoppers USA (@USACrimeStop) and the Canadian Association of Crime Stoppers (@CanStopCrime) were also joining the conversation. Waterloo Regional Crime Stoppers asked the question, why not hold a global Crime Stoppers tweet-a-thon? Jeanean Thomas of Waterloo Regional Crime Stoppers contacted Lauri Stevens of LAws Communications and not long after #CStwt was born.

Page 1 of 8112345...102030...Last »