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.
Social Media Investigations for police is a hot issue. The SMILE Conference has been addressing this topic with the foremost experts in the field since April of 2010 with the inaugural #SMILEcon. The 11th SMILE Conference is coming up once again with the Phoenix Police Department as host. The stellar speaker lineup is falling into place, the third day featuring all investigations presentations.
For more information or to register, go to the SMILE Conference website. The early bird rate of $499 is in effect until Feb 28th.
At the SMILE Conference we focus on three areas. They are:
- Day 1: Strategy/Implementation
- Day 2: Events Managements
- Day 3: Investigations
Bootcamp: Hands on training in Social Media Investigations at 7:30 a.m!
We offer an early morning hands-on bonus session with LAwS Academy Instructor Detective Sergeant Sam Palmer. Early risers will get an hour and 15 minutes of expert training in using free tools to conduct investigations on the Internet. Detective Sergeant Palmer teaches a two-day course for LAwS Communications’ LAwS Academy anywhere it’s requested.
The upcoming SMILE Conference in Phoenix will provide the best of the best social media investigations. Here’s the lineup:
Session One: Gangland Social Media – How Social Media Fuels Gang Violence & How Law Enforcement Can Be Pro-active.
Detective Officer Mike Cermignano, Philadelphia Police
Gangland turf wars – once openly waged on the streets in the communities we serve – have adapted to ever-changing technology, exploding onto an all-new battlefield: the social media universe. Yet while battles between rival gangs are now being fought on a virtual front, there are still very real-life consequences being felt on the street. Philadelphia Police Officer Mike Cermignano will discuss how social media fuels gang-violence, how Cops in the City of Brotherly Love are using social media as part of a pro-active approach to prevent violence on the front lines before it begins, and the emerging threat to law enforcement arising from social media.This session will not be
Session Two: Tracking the Taliband
Detective Daniel Gerard, Cincinnati Police
The “Taliband” criminal gang was initially identified as one of sixty-two active criminal groups/gangs within Cincinnati. This particular criminal group, based in the “Northside” community, invoked intensive law enforcement scrutiny when one of its members, was murdered by a rival gang. A six-month investigation was initiated and resulted in the identification of over 100 Taliband gang members, a 95-count indictment for criminal activity, 71 arrests of gang members and their associates, 15 gang members charged with “Participating in a Criminal Gang” (a second degree felony), and several gang members facing federal charges that carry life imprisonment terms. Over 50 undercover narcotics buys of crack cocaine, powder cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and marijuana were executed, and 22 firearms (including fully automatic assault weapons) were purchased or recovered. This investigation was the largest criminal gang investigation and prosecution in the history of the CPD and Hamilton County, Ohio. The Taliband investigation led to a 40% reduction in violent crime in the Northside neighborhood. This session will not be broadcast live.
Session Three: Unmask the Movement: Using social media to assess the risks of subversive organizations
Detective Chris Adamczyk, Mesa Police
Imagine standing at the 50 yard line of a massive stadium teaming with thousands of fans cheering their side to victory. Your task is to find the 10 people in the stadium who’ve planned the next stage of their violent insurrection, all online. How do you find them? Are they a threat? “Unmask the Movement” is an up close review designed to provide you with a basic understanding of the skill set needed to exploit social media and open sources to locate threats, and assess the risk they pose. The course will touch on common symbols and iconography, language clues, and a continuum of violence used to measure risk. The template discussed in this course has been applied to street gangs, syndicates, criminal activists, and terror organizations. It is the first step you need to expertly maneuver the dark side of social media. This session will not be broadcast live.
Session Four: Homicides in a Virtual Crime Scene: The Toronto Web-cam Case
Frank Skubic, Detective Sergeant, Toronto Police
An early morning video chat between a university exchange student in Toronto and her boyfriend in China was interrupted by a housemate with nefarious intentions: sexual assault and murder. After helplessly witnessing the streaming horror unfold upon his computer screen from half way around the world, her boyfriend turned to social media in a desperate attempt to summon help for her which, unfortunately, came too late. Toronto Police didn’t just have a virtually live-streamed murder on their hands. They also had a case that involved geographically and culturally diverse witnesses, and a modern day mainstream media intent on harvesting social media for clues, the reporting of which, at times, interfered and compromised the progress of the murder investigation. Detective Sergeant Frank Skubic was the lead investigator on the case. As a homicide investigator already well-versed in social media and murder, he and his team maneuvered their way through this sensational case that garnered international attention and have since arrested, prosecuted and convicted the perpetrator of First Degree Murder.
For full bios on all the speakers go to the SMILE Conference website.
by Lauri Stevens
The international group of judges of the third annual ConnectedCOPS Awards has determined the finalists for the 2014 awards.