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Twitter Day @VancouverPD

Vancouver Police launched into the Twitter community on December 9th by tweeting 100+ police calls during an intensive 15 hour period. I had (perhaps foolishly) volunteered to be the Social Media officer a few months ago when we started discussing social media, but had no idea what I was in for on December 9th. Chief Jim Chu and Director of Public Affairs, Paul Patterson, were inspired by the Greater Manchester Police’s 24 hour ‘twitterthon’ where every call was tweeted by a team of officers. Although their purpose was politically and ours more strategic, the results were fantastic for generating followers in a short amount of time.

Prior to the media release December 7th, @VancouverPD had 32 followers. By the end of the day on December 8th we were up to 500 followers. At 8 am December 9th when I began tweeting some overnight calls there were 761 followers. During the morning I had one person assisting me as we tried to determine what types of calls we could tweet as well as the style and language to use. Throughout the day I was also kept extremely busy with media interviews over the phone; live radio interviews, and TV pieces. Although this caused disruption to the tweets for up to close to 2 hours at one point, it was a vital component of the day to help spread the word o that the Vancouver Police Department was using Twitter. We received both local and national coverage, and seemed to be the ‘talk of the town’ for the day especially once some of the calls started making the rounds. Due to privacy concerns we were not tweeting any calls of a sensitive nature such as sudden deaths, suicides, sexual assaults or domestic disturbances, and we were not identifying any locations other than the general area of the city. (Downtown, SE area etc) Several times during the day I tweeted out the information that we would not be identifying locations or specifics of the calls in order to protect the privacy of individuals involved.

As the morning progressed we were fortunate to have some calls that the public found interesting which garnered a lot of attention. The favourite tweets throughout the day were ones where there was a sense of humour or irony, such as the intoxicated woman dancing in the street impeding pedestrians and the unlucky man who was arrested for trying to steal beer from a delivery truck. People were retweeting calls and adding their own (sometimes very witty) comments along the way, and at times seemed to be very surprised about the amount of ‘regular’ type of things that the police are called for. The goal of the day was not only to gain followers, but to give them an idea of what a ‘day in the life’ of the VPD was like. I kept track of the number of followers throughout the day, and we were running an average of 100 new followers/hour, until we were up to 2950 when I called it quits at 10 pm. (We now have 4711 followers 2 weeks later)

I had virtually no experience using Twitter prior to December 9th other than following what other Police agencies were doing, so it really was a learning process throughout the day. I tried to incorporate a personal sense to tweets so that it wouldn’t be too ‘stiff’, and also included links to our website for crime prevention information and to various police units that may be of interest. In the afternoon we had an excellent ‘test case’ of when to use Twitter when there was a suspicious person in a school that created the need for a school lockdown. Unfortunately though, we were not able to link directly to our media releases which created a slight problem trying to get the full information out on Twitter.

We received excellent feedback regarding the twitter day as well as suggestions from people ‘in the know’ which have been helpful in finding our place in the world of Twitter. Overall the public seems to be very happy that we’re on Twitter, and the challenge for 2011 will be to keep them engaged and interested in @VancouverPD.

Anne Longley

Constable Anne Longley is the Business Liaison & Social Media Officer at the Vancouver Police Department. Constable Longley is in her 20th year as a Police Officer with the Vancouver Police Department and currently works in the Community and Public Affairs Section as the Business Liaison Officer and is now also the new Social Media Officer. Cst Longley has worked in a variety of sections during her career, starting out as a patrol officer working in the downtown eastside. She also worked patrol in the downtown area and in the south west area of the Vancouver. Besides working in patrol, she’s held positions in the Youth Squad, School Liaison, Recruiting & Training Units; the 2010 Olympic Security Unit, and was Coordinator of the Traffic Authority Unit. She has a BA degree in Criminology from SFU as well as an Associate Certificate in Public Relations from BCIT.

Who's SMILE'n So Far

Social Media the Internet and Law Enforcement

In just under three weeks attendees, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors from five countries (U.S., Canada, Netherlands, UK, Australia) will gather in sunny Santa Monica to share best practices and ideas in law enforcement use of social media and the Internet. The second SMILE Conference will occur Jan 10-12 at the RAND Center. Our hosts are Chief Tim Jackman and the men and women of the Santa Monica Police Department. Attendees are invited to a pre-conference reception Sunday night with Chief Jackman. The reception is sponsored by Securitas. Tuesday evening of the conference will feature an open-discussion town-hall-style anything goes session with the speakers.

Registration is still open but we’re close to capacity. Be sure to register soon. There are also discounts available for CPOA, PoliceOne and PERF members, readers of the LAwS Communications newsletter, Law Enforcement 2.0 members (on LinkedIn), California law enforcement and any agency sending a group of SMILErs. Many of the discounts were made possible because of the generous support from Raytheon.

Only three weeks out, some of these organizations represented are:

List updated Jan 3, 2011 and periodically thereafter.

  • Anderson Software
  • Arcadia (CA) Police Department
  • Anaheim (CA) Police Department
  • Australian Federal Police
  • Bellevue (NE) Police Department
  • Berkeley (CA) Police Department
  • Beverly Hills (CA) Police Department
  • California Peace Officers Association
  • California State University
  • California, University of
  • Cardenas, Tony; Los Angeles City Councilor’s Office
  • Commission on POST
  • Covina (CA) Police Department
  • ConnectedCOPS.net
  • CrimeReports
  • Crime Stoppers International
  • Culver City (CA) Police Department
  • CyberWOrx8o8
  • CyberBully Alert/PLUS Program
  • Dallas Police (TX) Department
  • Denton (TX) Police Department
  • Dutch Police
  • East Point (GA) Police Department
  • Elsevier
  • ESRI
  • FBI, Innocent Images Project
  • Fort Wayne (IN) Police Department
  • Fremont (CA) Police Department
  • Fresno County (CA) Sheriff’s Office
  • Girls Fight Back!
  • GovLoop
  • Hague Police Service, Bureau of Forensic Investigation (NL)
  • HaltAbuse.org
  • Hermosa Beach (CA) Police Department
  • Homeland Security, U.S. Department of
  • iNameCheck
  • Las Vegas (NV) Metropolitan Police
  • LAwS Communications
  • Law Officer Magazine
  • Liebert Cassidy Whitmore
  • Long Beach (CA) Police Department
  • Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office
  • Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
  • Manhattan Beach (CA) Police Department
  • NBC Universal
  • Nixle
  • NoToGangs.org
  • Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations
  • Omaha (NE) Police Department
  • Open Eye Communications, LTD (UK)
  • Orange County (CA) Public Communications
  • Palo Alto (CA) Police Department
  • Port Orchard (WA) Police Department
  • Public Communications Worldwide
  • Peabody (MA) Police Department
  • Police Magazine
  • PoliceOne
  • Raytheon Company
  • Riverside (CA) Police Department
  • Rocky Mountain Information Network
  • San Mateo (CA) Police Department
  • Santa Monica (CA) Police Department
  • San Rafael (CA) Police Department
  • Seal Beach (CA) Police Department
  • Securitas
  • Social Media Five-Oh
  • Tipsoft
  • Toronto (ON) Police Service (CA)
  • Touchstone Consulting Group
  • USIS
  • West Covina (CA) Police Department
  • WHO@
  • York Regional (ON) Police (CA)

We hope to see you at The SMILE Conference.

3G, 4G, LTE – What Does It Mean?

Part three of a three-part series

I’ll readily admit it – I’m fascinated daily with the pace and growth of technology and the capabilities that are only limited by the imaginations of engineers. I’m particularly excited about the merging and emerging capabilities of Third Generation (3G), Fourth Generation (4G) and Long Term Evolution (LTE). In our personal lives, smart phones and tablet computers like the iPad and those running on Google’s Android operating system have opened a wide new world of interconnectedness that allow instant online access wherever you are – and wherever you go. For field officers, this means that future communications, data and video possibilities are truly endless.

According to industry leaders, as LTE begins to be deployed in 2011, officers on patrol will have access to data and video in vehicles and on hand-held devices. This is encouraging news as it means that the convergence of cellular applications and devices with current antiquated police radio systems has begun. In fact, the military is far ahead of public safety departments in this area, with cellular devices already replacing traditional hand-held radios.

Why? It’s actually quite simple.

Young, tech-savvy recruits to police forces are keenly aware of the benefits that 3G, 4G and LTE can and will provide as they use it every day in their personal lives to text; tweet; get directions; and upload pictures, videos and status updates from their own wireless hand-held devices. As the cellular industry begins offering much faster 4G pipes for broadband applications, running multiple applications has become routine.

With the advent of LTE, that speed and an even larger pipe will make current technology look like the leap from dial-up Internet to fiber. In basic terms, you could say that LTE will be like a super highway of “data packets” consisting of voice, data or video that travel at faster speeds and in larger “packets” than those previously. This dynamic upgrade could be remarkable for policing.

As police embrace the capabilities of emerging technologies and focus less on simple voice radio-based operations, LTE provides the first true capability for interoperable communications nationwide for all emergency services at every level of government. Like today’s cellular services, as you roam from city to city, your device will have a unique IP address which the system will simply identify  and then allow you on with authorization.

Public safety officials have waited a decade for the FCC to give them a designated space in the 700 MHz band and that’s expected very soon. As the “next-gen” in cellular technology, LTE will be the best use of that space to fulfill a dream of streaming video, posting data and carrying highly reliable radio voice transmissions on the same device.

This post is part three of a three-part series.
Part one is: “What Open Architecture Systems Mean to a Field Cop”
Part two is: “Brave New World: Wireless Access Technologies and the Impact on Policing”

Mike Bostic

Mike Bostic was with the LAPD for 34 years. He held every significant command up to Assistant Chief. Mr. Bostic is currently working in communications technology/public safety at Raytheon. He will also provide the closing keynote address on Wednesday Jan 12th at The SMILE (Social Media the Internet and Law Enforcement) Conference in Santa Monica. Find him on Twitter – @mikebostic

5 Reasons the Army is issuing iPhone and Android Smartphones to Troops

social media and law enforcementThe Army budget morphs that of individual law enforcement agencies, but thinking outside the box seems to be consistent on the battle field. The US Army is going to equip their field soldiers on the front lines with iPhones and or Android mobile device as soon as the Spring of 2011. I originally saw an article on www.digitaltrends.com and tracked the original information to the www.armytimes.com website. As a mobile device evangelist, enthusiast, I find the Army’s action to be an obvious technology progression of both physical mobile devices and web 2.0 technologies. Below are 5 reasons why the Army is issuing mobile devices to troops.

social media and law enforcement

1)Portability- Mobile devices are small enough to slip into a pants pocket, jacket pocket, ruck sack, duffle bag, etc.

2) Powerful- Smartphone’s have become mini laptops in the last year or so and upcoming generations of these devices will boast duo core processors, increased graphics, more HD video capture models and overall more power.

3) Real Time Intelligence- At war smart phones would let soldiers view real-time intelligence and video from unmanned systems overhead. Drones would be able to provide intelligence to field personnel via smartphone. While this certainly already occurs with laptops, laptops are unreasonable to carry individually.

social media and law enforcement

4) Real Time Maps- Track friends and enemies on dynamic maps, this could certainly be life saving.

5) Real Time Information- Soldiers will have the opportunity to use network searches, email, MMS, and get information real time while in critical situations, through individual mobile devices.

My first thought was how are the soldiers going to access a network? Not to worry, the Army has already been working on this with basically a portable or mobile cell tower that would provide soldiers a mobile network in battlefield situations. There really is no argument why this is not a brilliant move by the Army to equip their troops with more information. Does law enforcement see the same benefit as the Army does from mobile devices? I think issuing police officers iPhone and or Android smartphone’s is also a no brainer, what do you think?

This blog post original appeared on 12/19/10 Social Media Five-O by Michael F. Vallez

Brave New World: Wireless Access Technologies and the Impact on Policing

Part two of a three-part series

It’s remarkable how many companies have begun research and development of broadband capabilities for public safety. Third Generation  (3G), Fourth Generation (4G) and all the latest devices are moving toward wireless access technologies known as Long Term Evolution (LTE) and WiMax. Regardless of which network is used, public safety will go in one of two directions – proprietary solutions, which is the current law enforcement experience with vendors, or an open architecture approach, which allows any radio spectrum on any device.

For many of us, a cellular device or smart phone is an item we take for granted and we can’t wait for each week’s new applications to come out. In public safety, officers apply many capabilities in DNA, prints and biometrics, yet there is no way to quickly access these from the field. That’s why companies like Raytheon advocate for open architecture as it’ll provide officers with the information they need now to do their jobs efficiently – and effectively.

With LTE or WiMax, the ways you use the current hand-held radio on your belt and the phone in your pocket merge.

Through wireless technology in the field, officers will be able to:

  • Check prints
  • Run suspects
  • Determine facial recognition
  • Check probation/parole records
  • Check criminal records
  • Access past arrest and crime reports

These are just a few examples and it’s encouraging that police executives and IT professionals in public safety are finally demanding these new capabilities in program development.

As true open architecture devices are built, the possibilities that exist in our collective imagination will begin to take on real-life relevance. It’s a great time to be a cop!

This post is part two of a three-part series.
Part one is here: “What Open Architecture Systems Mean to a Field Cop”
Part three is here: “3G, 4G, LTE – What Does It Mean?”

Mike Bostic

Mike Bostic was with the LAPD for 34 years. He held every significant command up to Assistant Chief. Mr. Bostic is currently working in communications technology/public safety at Raytheon. He will also provide the closing keynote address on Wednesday Jan 12th at The SMILE (Social Media the Internet and Law Enforcement) Conference in Santa Monica. Find him on Twitter – @mikebostic

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