Our social:

Post from category:

Digital Futures……..

I attended a conference today with some senior police leaders to discuss how we take police use of social media forwards. Following on from the riots, there is a real impetus behind this work, and the genie is now well and truly out of the bottle. It was really refreshing to see a room full of senior officers with an understanding of the key issues and a desire to improve the current situation.

There is an emerging consensus of the big business areas where we need to integrate social media into our traditional policing response, they are;

  • Engagement
  • Intelligence
  • Investigation

Engagement seems relatively obvious, police officers should be taking every opportunity, and using every medium to talk to our communities, listen to them, and allow the public to influence how we deploy our resources. In this regard, social media seems to be an open goal. I am followed on twitter by around 7700 people, many of them from Wolverhampton, and as the Superintendent for the City, this gives me an opportunity to talk to people every day, in a way that would not be possible if I didn’t use social media. The opportunities are endless, and in 2012 we ought to be using social media routinely to talk to people, there are no excuses not to.

Intelligence gained from social media presents some new challenges to us in terms of the way we have traditionally worked, but the opportunities outweigh these many times over. In the aftermath of the riots, people were tripping over themselves to tell the police who was responsible, and we had to find ways of getting the information into our systems. We need to protect people who give us information, and we need to able to verify whether or not the information is true. Our traditional model for turning information into intelligence, the National Intelligence Model, simply does not work quickly enough to process information in the age of instant media. This is not insurmountable but, it does mean that that we are having to think about things differently.

Investigation in the digital age is changing rapidly. When you are investigating serious crimes, speed is of the essence. We often refer to the golden hour, and the evidence gathered in the immediate aftermath is often crucial to solving a crime. These days, the golden hour often happens digitally. People take photos and videos on mobile devices, provide commentary on the scene and start to speculate on motives and potential offenders online. Police need to be capturing all of this information, at the same time as containing the physical crime scene. again, there are risks, but we simply have no option than to adapt our processes and educate our investigators.

This is of course not a complete list of all of the opportunities and threats that exist in the digital world for policing, but it is a good start. The ACPO business leads for the areas listed above were all at the meeting today and there is clear commitment from them to make the necessary progress.

I am really optimistic for UK policing and pleased that the hard work of some of the early adopters of social media is starting to bear fruit. Watch this space…….

California Police Agencies Lead the Way with High-Tech on Patrol

Internet Access, Real-Time Communications Deliver Information Faster to Cops

I’ve often mentioned in my blog posts the irony of police officers accessing social media, email and the Internet on their personal smartphones, but having to settle for decades-old communications technology while on the job. There are several reasons for this discrepancy, with the existing climate of post-recession budget cuts making significant technology upgrades even more uncertain.

Despite these challenges, some of California’s police agencies – the largest of their kind in the nation – are finding cost-effective solutions to bring the Web and the latest communications gadgets into patrol vehicles.

In November, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced that it’s replacing mid-1980s-era mobile digital technology with a Raytheon mobile data computer system that has been battle-tested by soldiers in Iraq. The new state-of-the-art laptop computer systems are being installed in more than 2,400 vehicles and allow deputies to access the following:

• Sheriff’s Data Network and criminal databases, including FBI records
• Email
• California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) photos
• GPS routing to emergency calls
• Biometric data, such as fingerprints

With this information available at the tap of a finger, deputies no longer have to call the station for analytics when they’re chasing a suspect, responding to an emergency call or arriving at a crime scene. They can also type up reports remotely, which gets them in and out of the station faster and increases time spent in the field.

Then there’s the California Highway Patrol, which is responsible for 15,181 miles of highway in the state.

Recognizing the need for effective interoperable communications during an emergency, CHP has taken nine Chevy Tahoes and transformed them into sophisticated SUVs called Incident Command Vehicles that operate as public safety command centers on wheels. Each vehicle is a buzzing trove of high-tech connectivity with the latest communications equipment, including satellite, cellular, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and Internet access. At the center of this mobile command and control unit is the ACU-1000 Gateway system, a Raytheon technology, which can cross-connect different radio networks, connect those networks to phone or satellite systems, and function as a network connection on its own.

In both cases, the LASD and CHP show it is possible to bring communications technology that we use every day and place it in patrol vehicles so officers can have instant online access to the resources they need when it matters most.

On a related note, I’m attending a counterterrorism seminar this month at the UCLA Public Safety Network Systems Laboratory in Los Angeles. I hope to share some insights from that event in my next post.

Social Media and the Gun Owner

You’re a gun owner and an advocate for Second Amendments rights, right? Well, like you, we have to ask ourselves just what we’re doing to get the word out about our sport and the progress we’re making to preserve those cherished rights. Using the tools of social media may be a big part of that equation. So, the question is, what do we actually know about social media? What is it exactly? I have to be honest here and confess that up to about four weeks ago I knew next to nothing about it and if someone asked me what it was, my response would have been something like, “huh?”

Like most everyone else who tries to make a buck these days we have to make sure that our efforts are paying off. That is true no matter what our priorities may be. Money and time are definitely finite commodities, and if your budget and time constraints are anything close to mine, you can not afford to waste either. Tapping into the social media express train may not only be time-efficient, but cost-effective as well. As gun owners and gun rights advocates, using the tools that social media offers just makes good sense. Here’s what some people a whole lot smarter than me suggest:

Know what you want to achieve in life and set some goals to get there. If it’s your business, you may want to outline your ideas in some fashion. If it’s your passion about progressing our Second Amendment rights, then you and I need to get very busy. We can’t let the decision making go only to the politicians, because how many of them have actually had your best interest at heart lately? Do you have a personal or business website? If so, you definitely may want to put in place the things that will drive traffic to your site.

Are you on sites such as Facebook? If you have like-minded followers, but they’re not on Facebook with you, why have you spent the last several months promoting yourself or your ideas there? We have to make sure that what we are doing fits our particular demographics, personal, business or 2nd Amendment issues.

I’ll be the very first to admit that I am not any kind of techie. I didn’t know I needed help, but for me help arrived unexpectedly and I am most grateful. We need to seek help when we need it, and I’m not afraid to say that when it comes to social media issues I was, and still am, in way above my head.

I have a sneaking suspicion that, while it has been relatively quiet for the last three years concerning our gun rights, if someone is given a second term in office we may see many of those rights eroded away. Look, I may be in the minority by thinking this way, but I have a feeling I’m not. It’s just that sense of uneasiness that seems to permeate out of Washington, DC lately, and I get the nervous sensation that things may turn very sour for gun owners if we are not really careful and steadfastly vigilant.

Do you want to get your word out, have your voice heard, and share with others your thoughts and concerns? How about using Twitter? Success on Twitter can best be measured by the number of retweets you get. Are you getting any, retweets I mean? Sorry, I just had to do that! You should be getting a few each week, and in that way you know that your voice is not only being heard, but is being shared with an ever-widening audience. You can determine the number of retweeets you get by going to sites such as retweetrank.com or maybe twitteranalyzer.com. Twitter is great for your business promotion ideas as well and definitely worth a second look.

Insofar as your website is concerned, how many hits are you getting there and are you watching your site’s statistics? Drive people to your site by using common search engine words that will encourage others to take a look. Use your business product or service, or concentrate on guns and Second Amendment wording. It all helps to get your message out.

Social media is all very new to me too, but gradually I am coming around and beginning to realize the enormous benefits we have by using the varied tools it offers. I mentioned a couple here, but there are lots out there. Tapping into any of them is much better than just allowing our rights and our freedoms to be whittled away because it’s the whim of some weak-kneed political appointee.

John "Chappy" Elliott

John "Chappy" Elliott

A forty-year law enforcement veteran, John Elliott worked for police agencies in Virginia, Rhode Island and Florida, as well as for the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Customs Service. He also spent many years working with Interpol, and was a bomb disposal technician conducting land mine and unexploded military ordnance disposal in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Asia and Northern Africa. Thirty-seven of those years was spent working in concert with the U.S. State Department’s Office of Special Investigations and with Mossad in Israel. He started writing in 1969 while on a charter flight from the Far East to Travis Air Force Base in California, and is the author of eleven books, with three due for publication shortly. He has also written articles for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Quarterly Review, “The Thin Blue Line,” and wrote book reviews for the Audubon Society and the Smithsonian through the Humboldt Institute of Maine. He is an editorial writer for www.Guns.com. His articles appear weekly, many of them aimed at protecting our Second Amendment rights. Please feel free to visit him there. He is also a weekly on-air contributor for the BBC’s Sunday Morning Live show in Belfast, Northern Ireland and has been an occasional speaker for Radio Zabok in Croatia. John Elliott is also a member of SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and a lifetime member of the Black Card Society. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business, an MBA and Juris Doctorate degrees. He is the proud father of two daughters, and has five grandchildren, three girls and two boys.

Finding the Needle in the Social Media Haystack

When tragedy strikes, social media can strongly influence emergency response. Tragedy struck Virginia Tech again on December 8th when a gunman shot and killed university police officer Deriek Crouse. Since then, my mind has been racing about the role social media played in the response.

As a former assistant city manager and public safety official (EMS director, emergency manager, PSAP director), I am always intrigued by the response to dynamic and evolving incidents such as this one. I’ll start off by saying that I was very impressed by the actions taken by both university and law enforcement officials. A few aspects of the response are of particular interest to me.

Emergency Alerting: Reports indicate that the university’s communication response was well coordinated and executed. The initial (and subsequent) notifications were sent through multiple channels, including SMS text, e-mail, social media outlets, the school’s siren system, and posts to www.vt.edu. University administrators had empowered the police department to issue an alert without first obtaining approval. This no doubt saved considerable time.

Social Media (SM) As An Information Source: After I first learned of this latest shooting at VT through Twitter, I became curious as to the volume and type of information that was being posted to the various SM outlets. I started searching for posts with a #virginiatech hashtag on Tweetdeck and was amazed, although not surprised, by the sheer volume and velocity of traffic. I also logged into my Facebook account which, at least among my circle of friends, had no mention of the shooting. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the tremendous job that VT’s independent school paper @CollegiateTimes did with keeping the community (and the world) updated through Twitter. If I’m not mistaken their number of followers was somewhere around 5,000 at the start of the incident and bumping up against 20,000 a few hours later. SM clearly ruled the day from a public information perspective. But what, if anything, was done by public safety with the information being generated by the public?

Responding to Social Media (SM): I switched back to Twitter / Tweetdeck and put myself in the shoes of law enforcement or the incident commander who might be coordinating the response to the incident and search for the suspect(s). What intelligence or situational awareness would I have gleaned from Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Facebook or other sites? Would this have proven to be a distraction or invaluable? Could I have afforded to ignore SM posts and simply rely upon intel gleaned in the field by officers conducting the search or tips received through traditional communications methods?

My thoughts are as follows… given the prevalence of SM use today, I would have felt obligated to attempt to monitor the posts related to the campus. What if a valuable tip or a cry for help were transmitted only through Twitter? What if someone posted a photo or video that would have provided my officers with enhanced situational awareness? The reality is that there was so much traffic associated with #virginiatech that I was completely unable to read, let alone, process all of the posts to determine which might be of value. I would have been screaming for a technological solution to assist me with finding the needle in the SM haystack.

This may have indeed taken place, but if I were on the incident command team and plugged into SM, I would have broadcast a unique hashtag related to the incident for tips. This might have helped me reduce the amount of background noise from individuals who were simply posting well wishes, thoughts, prayers, or expressions of their shock to the incident. Perhaps #VTtips might have done the trick…I’m not sure.

Operational Security and the Web: One other aspect that has always concerned me about how plugged in the world is to unfolding events is the potential threat that real time posts poses to law enforcement operational security. I cringed each time I read a Tweet that reported on officer or tactical team locations based on radio transmissions heard over online police scanners. At one point @CollegiateTimes posted a photo of a tactical team making entry into one of the buildings on campus. I was relieved when a follow-up post clarified that the picture had been taken much earlier in the day (reports now suggest it was from 2007), but it made me wonder about the implications to police had it been more “real-time.” Was information being distributed through “informal” social media sources changing student behaviors or the behavior of the suspect? Were those behavior changes helpful or harmful?

The events at Virginia Tech were certainly tragic, but they also demonstrated in an extremely evident manner the use of SM as events unfold, as well as the associated challenges and opportunities presented to public safety. For those of you in law enforcement, emergency management, and crisis communications, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Flickr photo by “Naughty Architect”, James Lumb

Noah Reiter

Noah Reiter, MPA is the Director of Industry Solutions for Rave Mobile Safety, a leading provider of software safety solutions. Noah’s has extensive experience in city management and emergency services. Prior to joining Rave, he served as Assistant City Manager for the City of Sandy Springs, GA, where he spearheaded the successful evaluation, design, and implementation of a new multijurisdictional 9-1-1 communications center. He also led the redesign of what became a highly effective performance-based contract for the provision of EMS for the City and was involved in numerous other public safety and information technology initiatives. Prior to his work with Sandy Springs, Noah spent more than 15 years in the EMS profession as a paramedic and an administrator, including serving as the EMS Director for Grady Health System, the City of Atlanta’s EMS provider and earlier as the Director of EMS, Security, and Emergency Preparedness for Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. His career in EMS administration began at Rice University where he co-founded its Emergency Medical Services while pursuing his undergraduate degree. Noah currently resides in Boston and can be reached at nreiter@ravemobilesafety.com and followed | @noahreiter

6 Reasons Why LEOs Should be Thankful for Social Media

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, we asked our Twitter followers why they’re thankful for social media, as it pertains to law enforcement. They had six key tips to share.

Be sure to follow these contributors on Twitter. They’ll be very thankful!

1. It helps dissolve the media filter, which was very well stated by @apsana: “Social media (#SM) gives LE a voice to be heard in the community, outside of the interpretation and sounds bites of journalism.”

2. It increases your efficiency when budgets are tight. @Lt_SB said: “#SM is a force multiplier for community policing — a way to communicate with many at one time.”

3. It’s a great help in investigations, as eloquently stated by @AymaMuse: “#SM is a terrific investigative tool, mind blowing what info is so readily available online. Example: People tend to use the same profile user name for all their #SM sites.”

4. It’s an ideal enhancement for community policing, as two of my favorite tweeters reminded me. @CaptElbert: “It’s just another vehicle to reach a segment of our community that grows every day … even me.” And from @OfcVest: “Social media brings comm. policing to the digital age. We answer questions and concerns quicker and it offers the public a more personal link to officers.”

5. It’s an effective way to educate people, even officers. @sgtbetsysmith said it best: “#SM helps us reach out to LEOs about officer survival and leadership training and we keep the dialogue going long after class is over!”

6. It can save lives. @GraffitiBMXCop may have after he saw a specific posting on Facebook. He said: “Because we were able to prevent a Virginia Tech-type school shooting.”

This Social Media Quick Tip was previously published on LawOfficer.com

Page 39 of 81« First...102030...3738394041...506070...Last »