Minneapolis Police and Target offer free social media training for police

SOCIAL MEDIA TRAINING for law enforcement

Presented by Target and the Minneapolis Police Department
Hosted by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension

No Cost to Attend. Space is Limited. POST Board credit has been applied for.

Target and the Minneapolis Police Department have teamed up to offer training for metro area law enforcement on the use of social media in policing. Today’s law enforcement agencies are inundated with need-to-know issues every day and never before have something so profoundly affected modern policing as has social media. In this session, the widely recognized authority on social media in law enforcement teams up with the Deputy Chief and visionary at the police agency that has led the way. Toronto Police Deputy Chief Peter Sloly and Lauri Stevens of LAwS Communications will discuss the key leadership issues and strategies to succeed with implementing and managing interactive social technology at your agency.

The Toronto Police Service is highly regarded as one of the most forward-thinking law enforcement agency users of interactive digital tools in the world, especially for community engagement, but also crime prevention and investigation. Come learn about the strategies they are employing.

Dates: January 21 and 22, 2013
Time: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (lunch provided)
Location: Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, 1430 Maryland Avenue East, St. Paul
Who Should Attend: Persons responsible for a law enforcement agency’s social media presence
Training Requirements: Attendees must have their Twitter and Facebook accounts already created before they show up. Attendees must bring their own laptop or Wi-Fi-enabled tablet.
To Register: Send an email to with subject line “Social Media Training: Jan. 21/22” – include your name, title, agency, email address and phone number
Questions, contact: Mahogany Eller at or 612-696-2664

• Deputy Chief Peter Sloly of the Toronto Police Service who is considered the visionary that led the way on the use of interactive social technology at police agencies.
• Lauri Stevens of LAwS Communications is the widely recognized authority on social media in law enforcement.

Training Description
For law enforcement, social media presents a doubled-edge sword. We all know it comes with tremendous risks. How does an agency realize the many benefits it brings and mitigate those risks? The answer is: by implementing social media with sound governance and a proactive strategy and by providing solid training to employees.

This comprehensive two-day LAwS Academy training on social media use in law enforcement includes complete training in the use of Twitter and Facebook on day one. On day two we cover LinkedIn, Blogs, Pinterest, mobile apps, Social Media Strategy with the C.O.P.P.S. Social Media Method and policy considerations. This fast-paced course is designed for the serious learner and is intended to take law enforcement attendees with little or no knowledge of social media usage to a point where they’re comfortable and knowledgeable and have a complete working knowledge of how to gain all the benefits from using social media and mitigate the associated risks.

Learning goal
By completing this training, students with little to no knowledge of social media with learn the mechanics of the main social media platforms in use by law enforcement for community engagement. They will also come away with a basic understanding of how to develop a communication strategy for their agencies. Students will understand what policies are recommended at a minimum, and how to begin to create them. They will also understand the many risks to an officer’s career and safety with careless use of social networks and how to provide training to help their employees understand those risks.

Upon completing this course, successful students will know:
• Thorough knowledge of mechanics and use of Twitter
• Thorough knowledge of mechanics and use of Facebook
• Basic knowledge of mechanics and use of Pinterest, LinkedIn, Blogs
• A step-by-step process for developing a strategy
• What policies are necessary to navigate successfully
• Career survival and officer safety issues with Facebook, facial recognition, geo location, video-taping and appropriate posting

POST Board credit has been applied for.

Communication Teams and the Public

Having taken part in a session entitled ‘Press Office vs Bloggers’ at the recent #HyperWM event at Walsall College, and the ‘Tweets’ since the event, I have decided to write this blog to capture the issues and what can be learnt.

It was obvious from the start that there was going to be polarised opinion within the session between the bloggers in the room and the press officers representing their organisations. I will try to list some of the issues as I saw them.

Change in communications

The crux of the matter seemed to be this:

The bloggers felt they weren’t getting responses to their questions from the press officers. The press officers felt that they were there to push organisational information to the media, not individuals, be they bloggers or not.

I believe that while organisations still need to use the conventional methods of communication through the media, times have moved on from 10 years ago when this was the primary form of communication. Due to the opening up of  web communications through social media tools such as Twitter and Blogs, members of the community have arguably become just as important as the media. We should surely therefore respond to questions from the community as we respond to those from the media.

It is not acceptable in today’s communication world to ignore these digital engagement channels. In fact we should embrace these as people who follow bloggers and Twitteres are those actively reading posts being pushed out and are therefore a more willing audience…  A Direct Marketing campaign  is successful  if  it achieves a 3% return . Using digital channels I would expect this to be very much higher.

Lack of information

Another concern from the bloggers was that often they can’t find the information that they wish to communicate to their readers. They are happy to research the organisation’s website to find the information and then to compose their article themselves – they are not necessarily looking for the press office to write the article for them! They may seek to get a perspective from the organisation to add to the article.

The concern is that they are often thwarted as the information is not within the website; or if it is, it’s not easily available and difficult to search for. Public Sector organisations are obliged to publish information through the Public Scheme (link). As the Publication Scheme manager for my organisations, I personally feel that organisations should try to provide more than just what is required under the scheme.

Therefore Publication Scheme managers, Communications managers and Web Managers must try to provide as much information as possible through the website for the public. This is not only for the Bloggers but general members of the community to link to in Tweets or to read on the website itself!

Bloggers can be positive

In the session it was suggested that Bloggers are negative about organisations and therefore this is the reason that they are not being engaged. There were a number of bloggers within the session all of whom stated that they are fair in their articles – if sometimes a little persistent! They want to work with the organisations to help them get the information to the local people that they ‘represent’. To do this they need a meaningful conversation with the press office team.

A press officer for a local government organisation stated that they are there to communicate and provide information to the media and not the bloggers. I don’t think that bloggers can blame the press officers themselves as they are working within the guidelines set out for them by the organisation. Therefore the issue I think is more to do with lack of understanding by those leading communications within these organisations –  the way people receive their information has changed – people will view TV programmes when they want to (SkyBox, iPlayer etc), will get news information through feeds from multiple sources and Twitter, etc.

Therefore in my opinion if the press office embraces the fact that bloggers can help get the information out to the communities this can be a positive thing for the organisation. As a good friend has mentioned “Press Offices are like Life on Mars – still in the 1980’s”.

Note: This post was previously published on the UK Police Web Managers Blog.

Sasha Taylor is the eCommunications Officer and manages the eCommunications Team at Warwickshire Police, UK. He is responsible for the Intranet website, Newsflash (the force’s media logging software), plasma screens as well as the eight force websites. Sasha provides solutions and develops new concepts for the force which are in line with Warwickshire’s Policing Priorities. Sasha is also the Project Manager of the Child Rescue Alert Scheme for Warwickshire Police, is a member of the National Police Web Managers Group, member of the National Working Group for website, as well as being a Warwickshire Crimestoppers board member and registered Thinkuknow trainer (

When Police Chiefs (Leaders) Blog!

As a patrolman while working at the Tampa P.D. I only had contact with the Chief when I was awarded the “Officer of the Month” honor and when I was medically retired. Tampa P.D. is a fairly large department so contact with executive staff members may be less than officers realize at medium to smaller law enforcement agencies. Probably unless you are in a very small department you do not have much contact with the Chief or executive leadership unless you work with them directly or have been disciplined more than once. The idea of direct contact with Chief’s or executive leadership on an informal yet professional forum in my opinion may pay big dividends to law enforcement agencies. Having the opportunity to speak with the Chief or an executive leader to express ideas, thoughts, best practices, regarding work topics is a huge opportunity to hear from the employee who is engaged in the day to day operations of the business.

The Department of Defense (DoD) is on the forefront of blogging and in particular the US Army who has 22 different blogs. The US Army is massive, but the learning lesson here is leadership is having conversations with their subordinates in a less formal, yet professional manner and it has been successful. While participating in the SMILE Conference Jack Holt, Sr. Stategist for New/Emerging Media for the DoD stated “Generals felt they got more honest answers from the field troops via the blog than through in person visits.” This is very important for leaders to realize. A passing conversation with a troop, or a roll call visit probably is not as personable or scalable as interacting with employees through a blog. The DoD is engaging their employees and communicating with them via blogs, which can have positive impact on: 1) Communication 2) Morale 3) Problem solving 4) Decreased costs and so on.

When Chief’s or senior leaders blog I think they will soon realize the value of doing so. A blog can be created rather easily and learning to blog can be considered a part of communication, not a new unknown activity.

Recruits who blog

The Chief of the Lincoln NE police department has one of the most well-read and highly regarded Chief’s blogs in the country. As an avid blogger, Chief Tom Casady has now expanded the blogging responsibilities all the way down to the very newest recruits. The 18 members of the Spring recruit class at the police academy are taking turns blogging about their experience.

Casady is hoping The Recruit Blog will help the LPD’s recruiting efforts. He said, “I am hoping that applicants or potential applicants who either visit our web site or who we refer directly to the page are intrigued by the first-hand account of the training experience. I think some potential recruits will become more interested if they read about the training.”

The idea for the blog came from a marketing class at the University of Nebraska during the Spring of 2008. The class took on the PD as a “client” to help with the department’s recruitment campaign. He said the students really honed in on the importance of using great electronic communication, especially dynamic web content, for this target audience. Part of the goal was not only to attract more officer recruits but also to recruit higher caliber applicants.

The college students’ design is meant to mimic the notebooks the recruits actually carry. He added, “during their research, they learned that many of our officers carry this notebook, that for several years was made as a “gift” to new recruits by a now-retired officer who was a leather worker.”

Each recruit will blog for one week of the 19-week police academy experience. Their posts are reviewed by the department’s PIO before being posted to be sure they’re appropriate and don’t divulge anything they shouldn’t.

The blog was launched just two days ago so it’s impossible to tell if it’s having the desired effect just yet. But, at the end of the 19 weeks, the LPD may not only have 18 new police officers, but they may also have inadvertently produced officers who are conditioned to incorporate social media tools into their police work. Genius! Maybe some will be future ConnectedCOPS writers.