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ConnectedCOPS Awards 2012: Finalists Announced for Excellence at a Large Agency

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.

ConnectedCOPS Awards 2012: Finalists Announced for Social Media Incident Management

The Social Media Incident Management Award is sponsored by Nixle.

The ConnectedCOPS Social Media Incident Management Award is generously sponsored by Nixle. Travis Scott is Vice President of Agency relations at Nixle. He said, “Nixle is proud to be the sponsor of the Social Media Incident Management award because in a world where social media has drastically changed the way that people communicate, it is critical that our local law enforcement and public safety embrace the power of these platforms as well. We at Nixle believe that the winner of this award should be considered a model agency that all other agencies can based their social media strategy on.”

Nominations for this award came from several countries. The finalists in this category are doing extraordinary work managing emergency events. The judges were very impressed with the quality of nominations in this category.

ConnectedCOPS Social Media Incident Management

This award is given to the law enforcement officer or agency anywhere in the world who has used social media to manage and/or influence a public safety/emergency event, whether unforeseen or known. This officer/agency has strategically and successfully implemented social media engagement techniques to positively and effectively communicate public safety information in an urgent or emergency situation.

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

Queensland Police, Australia

The QPS Social Media strategy began in mid-2010 to provide timely and accurate public safety information, and to support operational police in the course of their duties. Later that year, on Christmas Eve, Cyclone Tasha made landfall creating flooding across Queensland. The agency primarily used Facebook and Twitter to keep the people of Queensland up to date with updates averaging every ten minutes. Radio and television stations were directing their audiences to the QPS Facebook page as the official source of information. Social media allowed QPS to transcend traditional communication boundaries, providing a much faster and more efficient service to the media both nationally and internationally via the QPS YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter pages. The robustness of social media sites allowed QPS to distribute high volumes of vital information and to maintain access to that information while many government websites crashed under the sheer weight of user traffic.

New South Wales Police, Australia

In 2012, the state of New South Wales, Australia was subject to severe flooding across the North West and South West of the State over an area twice the size of Texas. The New South Wales Police, having developed Project Eyewatch, used the program to create a range of warning notices during the extreme flooding in the New South Wales area. Project Eyewatch is a platform for the delivery of information to the community of NSW utilising Facebook. The “eyewatch” concept is about penetrating into and engaging the community to identify problems and work on a whole of community solution. In policing terms, this enhances their ability to environmentally scan their communities with a target on 1. Crime Prevention 2. Crime Detection 3. Emergency Management 4. Crisis Management and 5 Counter Terrorism Management. In terms of major emergencies, the State of NSW, through Project Eyewatch and its strategic links to all government response and combat agencies is in a solid position to inform community about emergencies, strategies to combat those emergencies and general safety information, prior to, during and post emergency.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, California

During the 2011 Christmas/New Year’s holiday season, the Los Angeles County area experienced an alarming wake-up call when several fires broke out during a one week period. It was evident early on that the fires were at the hands of a serial arsonist intent on burning everything in his path. Because the incident locations took place in multiple agency jurisdictions, the investigation required investigators from agencies ranging from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department, and members of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Assembling all of the agencies under one Joint Tasks Force was no small task but what was equally impressive was the Joint Information Center established to communicate one unified public message utilizing social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Nixle and agency websites. 

Finalists in the other awards categories will be announced throughout this week on this blog. The Social Media Investigator finalists were announced July 16th. Check back to see the finalists for Excellence in a Large 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.

ConnectedCOPS Awards 2012: Finalists Announced for Social Media Investigator

The Social Media Investigator award is sponsored by LexisNexis.

The ConnectedCOPS Social Media Investigator Award is generously sponsored by LexisNexis. Nominations for this award came from several countries. The finalists in this category are doing extraordinary work with open source investigations. They demonstrate a consistent, methodical, persistent and high quality approach. The judges were very impressed with the quality of nominations in this category. Susan Crandall is the Director of Marketing for LexisNexis’ Law Enforcement Division. “We were overwhelmed by the quality of the submissions.  These investigators have truly shown innovation and dedication in leveraging social media in their investigations to not only solve cases faster, but to also save lives and improve the safety of our communities,” she said.

ConnectedCOPS Social Media Investigator

This award is given to the sworn law enforcement investigator at any worldwide law enforcement agency who, as a practitioner, has used social media successfully to solve crime. The Social Media Investigator practices appropriate security measures and supervision in his/her investigations. 

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

Mark Fenton. Detective Fenton used a sophisticated combination of investigative instinct, technical expertise with open source technologies and social engineering to identify and locate an emotionally disturbed person in a complex case where he eventually determined that the suspect was suffering from “Munchausen by Internet”. The disorder is characterized by a behavioral pattern of seeking attention by feigning illnesses in online venues to deceive others by portraying themselves as gravely ill. In this case, the suspect was a Canadian living in New Zealand. Detective Fenton is a Constable with the Vancouver Police Department.

Patrica Van Dalen. Detective Van Dalen is an investigator with the Dutch Police who specializes in forensic Internet research in the area of online human behavior. In addition to her work and contribution to that of other investigators, she is currently developing a project in Digital Crime Profiling with scientists at the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), Dutch public prosecutor and tactical investigators.

Ian Barraclough. Detective Barraclough is an Internet-based investigator with the Vancouver Police Department. Leveraging the investigative training he received from the FBI, he has been responsible for the arrest of several pedophiles and child pornographers. Detective Barraclough works closely with the FBI, DHS and the US State Department. His work in social media has netted terrorists, money-launderers and even an Occupy protester who threatened a U.S. politician.

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

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.

Social Media Quick Tip: Fix Facebook’s E-mail Shenanigan

The latest shenanigan from Facebook is that they’ve forced a user setting change to set all of our preferred e-mail addresses to our Facebook e-mail address. You may not have even known you HAD a Facebook e-mail address. Just last week, the social networking giant decided to change all of our settings so that our primary e-mail address switches to our Facebook address. If you don’t watch Jimmy Kimmel, you might have missed it.

Facebook gives you an e-mail address based upon your Facebook username. E-mails sent to it would land in your Facebook inbox.

To fix it back, log in to Facebook. Click on your name in the upper right corner in order to display your Timeline. Then, just under your cover photo, click Update Info. Scroll down to Contact Info in the right hand column, then click Edit. Switch your Facebook e-mail back to hidden and your preferred e-mail back to shown.

When you’re done, send your resume to Jimmy Kimmel. Maybe he’ll hire some real cops to go knock some sense in to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Probation, Innovation & Geovation

The UK government is currently undertaking a review of the probation service and is encouraging probation trusts to be innovative in responding to fundamental change. Jason Davies’s (@b00tstrapper) post shows that there’s plenty of innovation in the current probation service.

SWM Probation Trust’s adventures in mapping, phone apps and pecha kucha.

It’s Wednesday afternoon, mid-June and we’re back in Southampton. It’s the final of the Geovation Challenge. The judges have retired to their chambers. We’ve made our case and it’s out of our hands, but the nerves are jangling now.

This is the culmination of a Staffordshire & West Midlands Probation Trust bid for some GeoVation funding. Ordnance Survey run the GeoVation Challenge with prize money awarded to the best and most innovative ways of combining maps and data to benefit local communities.

We wanted to address the lack of public awareness in community sentences and feelings of disconnection between the public and authority – a sense of distance from decision-making.

We wanted to develop a mobile phone app to make it easier and more likely for people to nominate sites for Community Payback. We would exploit the rise in smartphones and harness the camera and GPS applications to make it happen. The reward would be far greater visibility of the unpaid work that offenders do to improve their local communities.

Copyright Idaho Fish & Game

Part of our inspiration for the idea came from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. A couple of colleagues at work had been talking about the North American wildlife conservation organisation. The IDFG have developed an app that lets drivers report roadkill on Idaho’s roads by taking a picture with their mobile phone and sending the geo-tagged photo in for analysis. Elk and moose lovers, rejoice. This app helps boost survival rates near busy Idaho roads. On one particularly hazardous stretch, IDFG hollowed out a tunnel to protect the travelling beasts from oncoming juggernauts.

We posted the idea on the GeoVation website and waited. 74 other ideas had been submitted, so we were delighted to be shortlisted as one of 20 invited to the GeoVation Camp in May.

We got a small team together to represent the Trust: Mark from IT, Craig from Community Payback and me. We knew we’d have to pitch to the assembled audience and judges, so we got some slides made and put down a few words.

The weekend was challenging, but rewarding and fun. Until Sunday afternoon. On Sunday afternoon it got a bit tense, a bit intense!

Sunday afternoon was pecha kucha.

Roughly translated from Japanese as “chit chat”, it’s really anything but. Two minutes. Six slides. 20 seconds per slide. Auto-timed powerpoint. No room for waffle.

Slide 1: Intro. 20 seconds to explain to an audience of non-criminal justice people who we are, what we do and what on earth is Community Payback anyway?
Slide 2: The Problem. We quote from the final report into last summer’s riots. “People want to be involved in improving their areas and more communities should nominate projects for Community Payback… Probation Trusts should publish clearly accessible data on the outcomes of community sentences.”
Slide 3: The Solution (Part 1). We want to develop a mobile app that members of the public could download for free. The app will let them take a geo-tagged photo of a site they want offenders to work on. OrdnanceSurvey streetmaps on the phone will display the location to the user, who will be able to manually adjust it to give pinpoint accuracy. The app will send the photo automatically to us and we will assess the site for suitability.


Slide 4:
The Solution (Part 2). We will respond to all nominations, even anonymous ones, via link to a unique url – or webpage – where the nominator will be able to track their request. Suitable projects will be posted on a website with estimated work times, photos of work, clean sites and – most crucially – stories about the offenders’ experiences.
Slide 5: The Execution. This is the business model bit. We talked about getting an app developer and hosting the devices through cloud servers. We wanted a clean, modern and professional website capable of handling live maps of projects. People could search on the map for projects in their patch, or zoom in on any part of the Trust and click on tags to reveal photos and links to stories.
Slide 6: Next Steps. We talked about market research and publicity. We talked about our strong partnerships with police and local authorities, other Trusts who would support us and help us spread the word. We started allocating specific amounts of money to each bit.

For us, The most important part of the app was the opportunity to engage with the public as they followed progress online on the work sites they had suggested.

We imagine a map-based tapestry of local stories – stories the public could play a part in, stories about sorting out issues in people’s neighbourhoods, stories about the reintegration and rehabilitation of offenders.

We must have done OK because we got through to the final. We are back in Southampton. Ten teams are there and there’s a genuine sense of collaboration that has been there since the beginning. Of course everyone wants funding, but there’s no overt sense of competitiveness.

The judge returns and promises not to keep us in suspense.

He only seems to deliberate for eight or nine hours.

He tells us four of the ten ideas will get funding. Three prizes of £25k are announced: Groundwork’s Green Space Mapper, Ideal for All’s Shout Crime app and Sustaination. He hasn’t said our name yet, but there’s one prize left – £40k funding… It’s us!

Now the real work starts. Firstly, we get a prototype app, some cloud server and the backend of the website built. Then some testing and market research. There’s work to do, but we’ve got funding and technical support from Ordnance Survey, the backing of our chief executive and the words of the riot report ringing in our ears, so watch out for developments.

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