The third Global Police Tweet-a-thon is just behind us. According to Bright Planet the third #poltwt saw over 15,000 original tweets from 1,000 unique users. A map of the officially registered users is on Google.
It had the ingredients for a traffic disaster: a Monday evening rush hour on the notoriously clogged Capital Beltway combined with a 7:05 pm kick-off for the Washington Redskins’ 2013 season home opener in Landover, Maryland.
But the Prince George’s County Police Department, whose headquarters borders FedEx Field, home of the Redskins’ stadium, decided to tackle the traffic challenge head-on. The department’s Media Relations Division developed a plan to inform the community about one of the most talked about topics in the Washington, DC area on any day of the year: traffic. The PGPD created “Game Time,” an information-sharing social media event. The department began tweeting on the Friday before the Monday Night Football game against the Redskins’ nearby NFC East rival the Philadelphia Eagles. Using the hashtag #GameTime, one member of the Media Relations Division coordinated with the police department’s Special Operations Division, which oversees all events at FedEx Field, to determine which information and images to tweet and when.
NFL games are major events for the PGPD with some 200 officers handling security and traffic. There is a large control room within FedEx Field where the Special Ops commanders keep a watchful eye on activities both in and around the stadium. Relying on a large bank of traffic cameras surveying the major arteries near the 90,000-person stadium, the Media Relations Division was able to see and then share traffic news in real time as the 7:05pm kickoff approached.
Various local media outlets gave advance coverage to “Game Time”, advising viewers, listeners and reader that the police department’s Twitter handle, @PGPDNews, would be tweeting traffic news during the potentially disastrous evening commute. This included the widely-followed The Washington Post’s traffic Twitter handle, @DrGridlock.
To maintain the momentum of the media coverage and to help game-goers plan, Media Relations began tweeting #GameTime news at about 3:30pm, 3 1/2 hours before the game began. In an attempt to crowd source traffic information, the PGPD solicited commuter input & specifically tried to discourage the notion of having drivers tweeting while behind the wheel:
At about 5 pm, this basic tweet prompted 12 retweets, or sharing of the police department’s message:
The Department’s message was spreading:
A parking logistics coordinator working for the Washington Redskins noted during the event it seemed to him the advance media coverage and the possibility of gridlock might be having an effect – not just on game attendees but on rush hour commuters as well. The parking lots, both he and police commanders noted, were filling up much earlier than expected.
The major roadways were far less congested than expected as kick-off neared. Drivers had planned ahead and arrived at the stadium well in advance.
A PGPD Special Operations Division helicopter flying above the stadium offered aerial images of traffic and the parking lots. Those tweets generated a lot of retweets, indicating the appetite for information included an appreciation for social media aesthetics.
In addition to the media coverage generated by the event, the PGPD advertised for “Game Time” in the days leading up to the game on Twitter, since that’s where the event would take place. However, to encourage crossover followers, the event was also advertised on the department’s Facebook page.
What ticket holders and commuters alike took away from the “Game Time” experience isn’t easily measured. Based on media coverage, the 38 new @PGPDNews followers gained that day and positive response from existing @PGPDNews followers, the department deemed the event a success.
The next similar event is planned for the week before Thanksgiving. Look for @PGPDNews to host #OperationOutlets on November 22, 2013. The grand opening for a new outlets mall in Prince George’s County is expected to draw more than 20,000 visitors and could lead to traffic tie-ups. To try and prevent that, the PGPD’s Special Operations Division’s Traffic Enforcement Unit and the Media Relations Division will again team up, returning to Twitter to once again keep citizens informed.
Julie Parker serves as the Director of the Media Relations Division for the Prince George’s County (MD) Police Department, the nation’s 28th largest law enforcement agency. The PGPD straddles Washington, D.C. and spans 500 square miles of urban, suburban, and rural populations. Prince George’s County is home to the University of Maryland at College Park, the Washington Redskins, and NASA headquarters with an approximate population of 900,000. Parker serves as principal communications advisor to the Chief of Police & other executive command staff and is responsible for key messages and media strategy, to include during crisis situations. She promotes and achieves positive news stories at an unprecedented level for this police department. Parker manages a 13-person division comprised of sworn and civilian public information officers, video production specialists, graphic designer, Crime Solvers coordinator and special projects professional. Parker is also a frequent guest lecturer at the FBI National Academy on law enforcement media relations and crisis communications. She’s a recognized leader in using social media for innovative community outreach, media relations, crisis communications, targeted branding and messaging. Parker spent 13 years reporting and anchoring in Washington, DC, most recently for ABC7 News where she won both an Emmy Award and an Edward R. Murrow Award.
ConnectedCOPS Social Media Campaign
This award will go to the law enforcement agency which has met its stated goals with a documented social media campaign. The campaign is designed to address a significant problem or educational issue within the agency’s jurisdiction. Nominations should include a description of how success was measured.
The finalists in the Social Media in Campaign Management category have proactively and strategically designed a campaign with social media having a significant part. They have carried out the plan and achieved the goals set forth.
There are three finalists in this category:
North Yorkshire Police, United Kingdom
The North Yorkshire Police (NYP) were nominated for their success with two separate social media campaigns. With its #TeamNYP campaign, the NYP grew its engagement with citizens significantly. The plan was strategically combined with traditional communication methods to draw more views to the force’s website and other content. A key piece of the project was the redesign of the home page of the force website featuring live social media content. With a separate campaign focused on mobile technology and a goal of reducing burglaries, the NYP created an iBook campaign for iPad users. The iBook is called “Securing your home” and features chapters on bogus callers, burglary prevention, property marking, vehicle security and rural crime. The project was such a success that more iBooks are forthcoming and several other UK forces are looking to the NYP for their leadership.
Waterloo Regional Police, Ontario, Canada
With a goal of engaging youth, building awareness and stimulating dialogue surrounding gang prevention, the Waterloo Regional Police (WRPS) created the “8 Days of SWAG” social media campaign. The campaign and its social media profiles were deliberately branded separate from the Waterloo Regional Police Service based on a perceived notion that if youth knew who would be hosting the campaign, they would be less likely to participate. Each day was assigned a theme, as a way to organize the broad topic of “gangs” and prizes were awarded every day. By the end of the 8 Days of SWAG campaign, the WRPS had engaged over 650 participants which in turn reached more than 83 thousand Twitter accounts. On Facebook, they reached over 5,400 people, of which 68% were between ages of 13 and 24. WRPS received numerous requests from students, asking them to visit their school, as well as requests to continue the campaign next year.
Collier County Sheriff, Florida, United States
In November 2012, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) launched an ambitious multi-faceted public safety campaign aimed at bringing about a law that would make it illegal to text-message while driving in Florida. “Stop Texting & Driving” was a community-based, grass roots movement to address the growing demand for Florida to join the 39 states that have declared it illegal for drivers to text behind the wheel. Through their website, PSA’s and social media, citizens were asked to sign a call to action in support of anti-texting legislation. The Sheriff also invited community members to share their texting and driving experiences on the CSCO social media platforms. More than 150 people posted messages, many of which were heartbreaking, about how their lives had been affected by someone who was text-messaging while driving. Most significantly, Gov Rick Scott signed legislations on May 28th that makes it illegal to text-message while driving in Florida.
Finalists in the other awards categories will be announced throughout this week on this blog. Check back to see the finalists for Top Cop tomorrow. Winners will be announced September 25th at The SMILE Conference™ in Omaha, Nebraska.
Finalists previously announced:
- Social Media Investigator
- Excellence at a Small Agency
- Social Media Event Management
- Social Media Civilian Award of Excellence
- Leadership Award
The ConnectedCOPS Awards were created by LAwS Communications with the intent of recognizing the good work being done by individual officers and law enforcement agencies with social media. The international law enforcement community will be considered for these awards. Any officer or agency anywhere in the world is eligible.
The Philadelphia Police Department is always looking for ways to connect with members of our community. Our District Captains hold monthly meetings to ensure that we are addressing the issues that are affecting our citizens. We have foot-beat officers walking through neighborhoods throughout the city so that people can get to know the officers that are serving them. And, we have one of the most prolific social media campaigns of any police department in the country because we recognize the importance of interacting with the citizens that we serve through every available avenue.
To that end, the Philadelphia Police Department is pleased to announce our latest foray in to the social space, Pinterest. The PPD Pinterest account currently has nine boards. The first six are for wanted and recently arrested persons in each of the six police divisions across the city. The three remaining boards are Inside the PPD, Safety and Prevention and Cops in the Community. We expect there will be more boards as time goes on. If you have an idea for a board you would like to see from us, please let us know.
Along with our brand new Pinterest, we are also on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Take an active role in reducing crime in Philadelphia by liking, following and subscribing to our social platforms. You can submit a tip via email at tips@PhillyPolice.com, phone at 215-686-tips (8477), text message to PPDTip, and on our website at PhillyPolice.com/tips.
Thank you for joining us in the effort to fight crime in the City of Philadelphia.
The Richland Hills Police Department is taking yet another step forward its social media journey. The PD started in 2010 with Facebook and, after attending a SMILE Conference, moved forward with Twitter, a YouTube channel, and a Google Plus account. But there’s a new kid on the block Richland Hills Police have put in their social media repertoire, and it’s called Nextdoor.
Nextdoor is a free program sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch which allows residents to securely connect with each other, local businesses, and the City of Richland Hills. Richland Hills is broken into 5 grids and each grid is a neighborhood. Residents go to www.Nextdoor.com and sign up using their address. Nextdoor then goes through a verification process to ensure they know who is applying for an account.
Chief of Police Barbara Childress said, “This doesn’t replace our traditional neighborhood watch program, but it supplements it for people who don’t have time to physically participate. They can now stay up to date with news from the city, crime tips and trends, and get to know their neighbors in a virtual neighborhood.” Chief Childress went on to say, “The program has done exactly what we wanted it to and residents are jumping into this with both feet. We have had residents who have never used other social media platforms get on Nextdoor and start interacting with their neighbors and the police department.”
Nextdoor is loaded with features geared toward allowing neighbors to get to know each other safely. It’s linked to the sex offender database so if a registered sex offender or anyone at that house tries to obtain an account it will deny access. Chief Childress commented, “Neighbors that know each other are a powerful asset to the police. If you know your neighbors vehicles and you see a different car in their driveway, a close neighbor is more likely to call police to investigate.”
This program is designed to build stronger, healthier communities with crime prevention being a byproduct. For more information visit www.nextdoor.com. If you would like information about how Richland Hills implemented their program, please contact email@example.com.