The ConnectedCOPS Excellence at a Large Agency Award finalists have been determined. This award generated more than a dozen nominations from five countries; three countries are represented in the finalists listing. The finalists in this category have demonstrated a proactive strategic approach to the implementation of open source technology into their communication plans.

Doug Wyllie, Senior Editor at Police One, was one of seven judges in this category. He said, “Because large agencies in particular have the manpower and resources to do some pretty incredible stuff with social media, that category was an especially hard one to rank. The nominations were oustanding.”

ConnectedCOPS Excellence at a Large Agency

This award is given to a law enforcement agency, anywhere in the world, of 151 sworn officers or more that has demonstrated overall excellence in the use of social media to enhance its services to the public. The agency exhibits leadership, creativity and innovation in its use of social media to engage, educate, recruit, and etc. The agency has a broad and deep understanding of social media use and applies sound governance and strategy in its social media operations. The agency also promotes the use of social networking in law enforcement through its outreach to colleagues and by mentoring others.

We have three finalists and they are (in no order of significance):

Reykjavik Police, Iceland
The Reykjavik Metropolitan Police (RMP) began using social media in late 2010. With 22,000 followers on Facebook in a country of 320,000, it’s one of the largest followings, per capital in the world. The social media implementation is a small step towards building digital policing in Iceland, the end product being a fully digital police station with additional presence in Twitter (the Chief is currently using Twitter) and YouTube. The RMP is finding that social media is both a cost-effective way of community policing but is also turning out to be one of the key points into building trust between the police and the public.

Toronto Police, Canada
The Toronto Police Service (TPS) put together a team of Service members at the end of 2010 to develop its social media communication strategy. They began implementing the strategy in January of 2011 and continue today. The TPS strategy includes the use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+ in an integrated approach across all Units, Community Consultative Groups and 17 Divisions of the Service. The TPS understands that the role of serving and protecting is all about relationships. They’re using social media for crowd control during protests and to collaborate to save lives. They also regularly debate issues like sexual assault, teen suicide prevention, and domestic violence. They are dedicated to implementing the vision of community collaboration for success and safety and using social media to engage and empower citizens.

New South Wales Police, Australia
The New South Wales Police (NSWP) began its Project Eyewatch in 2011 as its strategy to reinvigorate community engagement and openness in policing through the concept of Neighbourhood Watch in the 21st Century. NSWP’s Project Eyewatch uses Facebook to reduce crime through conscious security measure, visibility and community cohesion. Eyewatch is about empowering residents with the ability to participate in crime prevention activities online in their own homes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is based on 4 key strategies: 1) Focus on people who need our help; 2) empower accountability; 3) balance priorities and 4) develop community capacity and sustainability.

Finalists in the other awards categories will be announced throughout this week on this blog. Check back to see the finalists for Excellence at a Small Agency tomorrow. Winners will be announced September 10th at The SMILE Conference™ in Richmond, Virginia.

Previous finalists were announced earlier this week:

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.

Disclaimer: LAwS Communications served as a consultant to the Toronto Police Service during the development of its social media strategy and is not a judge on this or any of the ConnectedCOPS Awards.