As a patrolman while working at the Tampa P.D. I only had contact with the Chief when I was awarded the “Officer of the Month” honor and when I was medically retired. Tampa P.D. is a fairly large department so contact with executive staff members may be less than officers realize at medium to smaller law enforcement agencies. Probably unless you are in a very small department you do not have much contact with the Chief or executive leadership unless you work with them directly or have been disciplined more than once. The idea of direct contact with Chief’s or executive leadership on an informal yet professional forum in my opinion may pay big dividends to law enforcement agencies. Having the opportunity to speak with the Chief or an executive leader to express ideas, thoughts, best practices, regarding work topics is a huge opportunity to hear from the employee who is engaged in the day to day operations of the business.
The Department of Defense (DoD) is on the forefront of blogging and in particular the US Army who has 22 different blogs. The US Army is massive, but the learning lesson here is leadership is having conversations with their subordinates in a less formal, yet professional manner and it has been successful. While participating in the SMILE Conference Jack Holt, Sr. Stategist for New/Emerging Media for the DoD stated “Generals felt they got more honest answers from the field troops via the blog than through in person visits.” This is very important for leaders to realize. A passing conversation with a troop, or a roll call visit probably is not as personable or scalable as interacting with employees through a blog. The DoD is engaging their employees and communicating with them via blogs, which can have positive impact on: 1) Communication 2) Morale 3) Problem solving 4) Decreased costs and so on.
When Chief’s or senior leaders blog I think they will soon realize the value of doing so. A blog can be created rather easily and learning to blog can be considered a part of communication, not a new unknown activity.