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Dynamic police units star in #WMPLive – a UK policing first

Don’t miss this live event 7:30pm-8:30pm BST, 2:30-3:30 EST, 11:30-12:30 PST.

FIVE of West Midlands Police’s most dynamic departments will come together during a live online ‘hangout’ in a UK policing first that promises to give viewers a real-time insight into the work of critical force units.

‘WMP Live’ sees officers from traffic, motorway policing, dogs, firearms and air operations hook-up simultaneously through a live internet streaming event on Tuesday (June 25) from 7:30pm-8:30pm BST, 2:30-3:30 EST, 11:30-12:30 PST.

Using smart-phones or tablets they’ll be filmed on duty and use the opportunity to discuss their roles, equipment at their disposal and field questions from people who join the hangout on the force’s YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/westmidlandspolice).

Twitter users can post their questions in advance, and during the event, using the hashtag #WMPLive.

West Midlands Police Operations Chief Inspector Kerry Blakeman, said: “We’re always keen to explore latest technology that affords new ways of reaching out to people across the West Midlands. This promises to be an exciting insight into the work of units that largely go unseen by the public.

“Officers will be filmed whilst on duty so there’s always the potential for viewers to see units being dispatched live to incidents as they happen.

“Of course there’s always the chance of technology or connections letting us down but fingers crossed everything will go to plan.”

The ‘Policing Live’ event will be anchored by former regional news presenter Llewela Bailey who’ll move the spotlight between officers. They include:

• Police dog handler and Crufts award finalist PC Dan Thomas who’ll be joined on camera by his German shepherd and Spaniel sidekicks;
• Traffic cop PC Pete Harris;
• Firearms Sergeant Mark Picken who will discuss the role of WMP’s Armed Response officers and weapons at the unit’s disposal;
• Air Observer PC Matt Smith from the force helicopter’s Birmingham Airport base…with additional footage from the on-board ‘heli-telly’ camera as it patrols the region’s skies;
• Sergeant Dean Caswell talking live during a motorway police tour.
• And Chief Superintendent Chris McKeogh who’ll give an overview of West Midlands Police’s Operations department.

The 2013 ConnectedCOPS™ Awards

Click Here to Nominate Now – Only Two Weeks Left!

The 2013 second annual ConnectedCOPS Awards are underway. We’re looking for the best of the best in eight categories worldwide. We invite you to send in your nominations for the very best police work in social media.

With the 2013 awards we’ve added two categories. One is a strictly civilian category to recognize the civilian member of law enforcement who has achieved excellence in police communication with social media as a civilian/staff member. The second new award is for social media campaign management.

The Social Media Campaign Awards is not to be confused with the Social Media Event Management award. While the event management (previously called incident management) award is focused on a specific event (weather emergency, protest, hostage taking, live shooter) the campaign award is intended to recognize a program designed to address a specific issue or problem over a given period of time.

The other six categories are Social Media Investigator, Social Media Event Management, Top Cop Award, Leadership Award, Excellence at a Small Agency and Excellence at a Large Agency.

Only Two Weeks Left

The awards descriptions as well as terms and conditions and list of judges/partners are available. The deadline to nominate is June 30th.

The 2012 winners were a result of 83 nominations from 10 countries. They were whittled down to finalists from eight countries and the winners of the six awards represented six countries. For more information about the 2012 winners, click here.

The Social Media Investigator Award is sponsored by LexisNexis. We are considering sponsors for each of the remaining awards. Contact Lauri Stevens for more information. The sponsor is invited to serve as a judge and as presenter of the sponsored award. The sponsor’s logo is engraved on the crystal trophy. The sponsor also receives a free exhibitor position at the SMILE Conference®.

Lauri Stevens can be reached at Lauri[at]lawscomm[dot]net.

A SMILE Conference in the UK? Who's in?

In an effort to gage interest in whether a SMILE Conference® would be viable in the United Kingdom, LAwS Communications would like to get your input in the following survey. It’ll only take a couple minutes

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

Decentralized Social Communications: Scary Stuff!

Do you keep your social media presence “close to the vest” (e.g. only allowing Public Information Officers the ability to post content) or does your strategy include the ability for all agency officials to reach the community? The latter type of presence involves letting go of control to some extent and this, of course, requires a huge leap of faith from leadership, especially in top-down oriented public safety organizations. However, this type of strategy is currently being done quite successfully.

In the book “Social Media in the Public Sector Field Guide” Ines Mergel and Bill Greeves suggest that a decentralized approach to social media content production is evidence of an evolved use of social media in organizations. They state that agencies that have been using social media for a while often “make social media the responsibility of everyone” and offer the benefits of this decision:

A recent decision at the Department of Defense was to abandon the role of the social media director and instead transfer that position’s responsibilities onto many shoulders in the organization. It is very difficult for a single department or division to speak with the knowledge and authority of all the business units of an organization. “Official” responses often require time and research. They frequently result in formal answers that do not fit the casual tone inherent in social media. By formally distributing the tasks and response functions to those who have the knowledge required to have meaningful online conversations on social media channels, you can decrease maintenance costs, increase trust in those exchanges and reduce the number of missteps or rounds of interaction it takes before citizens get the “right” response from your agency. (pages 110-112)

Jim Garrow, who blogs at “The Face of the Matter” makes a similar case: “My point, and it naturally follows from last week’s post on having others write for your agency, is that we [PIOs] need to get the hell out of the way. Let your agency shine through every day. Give your experts the podium they deserve. Build them a following (or let them build a following).”

The Toronto Police Department provides an example of complete decentralization of social media content. As can be seen in the image below their agency’s website homepage has all the “big 3” social media buttons: Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. These buttons take the user to their official account, most likely administered by a Public Information Officer.

Choose, however, the “Connect with us” tab right below it, and their world opens up. I counted 119 different social media accounts for this organization–119! What are all these people talking about? Ideally, the content they are posting should be directly related to their position or function in the organization, and with each of the samples I chose at random, that proved to be the case. Take for instance Sgt Jack West (@SgtJackWest)—who has the title of “Traffic Enforcement.” No shocker, he talks a lot about traffic and how people can stay safe–e.g “Don’t text and drive” etc.

Patricia Fleischmann or @caringcop on Twitter, has the title of “Vulnerable Persons Coordinator.” What does she post about? How elderly and other people who might be vulnerable to crime and natural disasters can be better prepared. She also Tweets quite a lot about people that are helping each other, organizations folks can turn to for assistance, and information from community meetings she attends. She has a healthy following of 762 people.

I could go on for while with examples, but feel free to explore of these great social feeds yourself by clicking here. So, how do they keep everyone in their “lane?” How do they keep all of these people from embarrassing the organization and posting inappropriate content? Yikes–this is scary territory!

I have been told by some of these Toronto Tweeters, that they do the following:

Before they get their social account, they are required to attend a 3-day intensive social media training class that provides them with not only information about how and why to use social networks, but also how NOT to use them. This would include Department and City posting policies.

Each of the accounts are clearly marked with the fact that the person works for the Toronto Police Department, however, they do often choose to use their own picture instead of the PD’s logo–giving the account a personal touch, which I think is critical for community outreach and engagement (it says to the public–we are people to).

Each account states that they do not monitor the account 24/7, and that if anyone needs emergency assistance they should dial 911. (See below–each person’s account information looks almost identical.)
Each Twitter profile links back to the official website.

This obviously is not a willy nilly hey, all-you-guys-go-Tweet-something strategy. Their strategy is obvious, their goals are clear; and it seems to me they are meeting the objectives of reaching out and connecting with the public on platforms that the public uses everyday.

See, it’s not so scary after all!

This post was previously published at iDisaster 2.0.

Kim Stephens is an independent emergency management consultant and the lead blogger of iDisaster 2.0 where she writes about the benefits as well as the challenges the emergency management community and other public sector entities might face when employing new information communications technologies before, during and after a crisis. She has over a decade of experience in the field of emergency management. Her experience has spanned federal, local and non-governmental organizations: from the US Environmental Protection Agency, to the Tennessee Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management, and the American Red Cross. She has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Texas A&M University.

Send me directly to jail

Finally Friday

Finally Friday is an occasional series of posts which look at the lighter side of life.

In particular, I delight in rounding up examples of criminals whose own stupidity is the main reason they were brought to justice.

There have been a couple of distinctive examples over the last month.

Don’t recycle your tweets

Emma Way drove so recklessly that she knocked a cyclist off his bike.

She did not stop to see if he was all right.

She did not report the accident.

But she did tweet about it:

Twitter road hog

Ms Way might only have had 100 followers on Twitter but, as Sally Bercow and many others know, tweeters can smell a dodgy tweet from the other side of the World Wide Web.

By the time Ms Way had deleted her Twitter account, Norwich Police were soon in on the act and advising her, via Twitter, to report the accident ASAP.


@emmaway20 we have had tweets ref an RTC with a bike. We suggest you report it at a police station ASAP if not done already & then dm us

— Norwich Police (@NorwichPoliceUK) May 19, 2013



Ms Way ended up having to make a full confession on the BBC and police are “progressing with their enquiries”.

Full story here.

Tracing the untraceable

Our second instance of criminal stupidity feature Wayne Braud, a member of a large drug gang based in Rochdale.

The ten man team imported drugs concealed in tinned goods and prided themselves on being untracelabe because they used pay as you go mobile phones from which they deleted all data before disposing of them.

Unfortunately, Mr Braud wasn’t so security conscious, helpfully spelling out his nickname in cocaine and getting an accomplice to take a photo:




The gang were sentenced to a total of 92 years and you can see the full story on the Merseyside Police video below:





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