ConnectedCOPS Social Media Civilian Award of Excellence

This award is given to the individual civilian member or employee of a law enforcement agency who has singularly demonstrated overall excellence in the use of social media to improve public safety and/or enhance his or her agency’s community engagement and reputation. This individual is creative and innovative and shares what s/he knows by mentoring others, participating in public speaking opportunities and leading by example.

The finalists in the Civilian Award of Excellence category in many cases are the leaders within their agencies to implement social media. These individuals are true pioneers. The judges report that with many very accomplished people being nominated, naming finalists was a challenge and determining a winner will not be an easy decision.

There are three finalists in this category:

Bridget FitzPatrick, Omaha, NE Police
Bridget works directly with the local community of Omaha by listening to their needs and providing a civilian perspective of law enforcement. Bridget has secured a regular live spot on a local TV station where she presents on safety and police action from a citizen’s viewpoint. OPD recently had very negative press from an incident involving an officer. Through a collaborative effort, and with Bridget taking the reins, OPD was able to manage the event to a more positive outcome. With hard work, including time on her day-off, to navigate through a period of extremely negative spamming, hate comments and anti-police Facebook comments and pages. Fitzpatrick’s expertise and viewpoint successfully addressed concerns from both the civilian and police who were involved.

Dionne Waugh, Richmond, VA Police
The Department’s Command Staff met Dionne’s efforts with a great deal of skepticism. It took tenacity and patience to drag a group of “Old Guard” staff into the modern day of social media and take a chance on creating a Facebook Page for the department. She was the first to understand how Facebook could establish the link between the Department and the general public – a line of communication that is critical to the success of community policing. Ms. Waugh is constantly called upon to speak at police conferences and always accepts any opportunity to help colleagues better understand and use social media. Through her hard work and dedication, she has established the Richmond PD as one of the top agencies for its size in the nation.

Mark Myers, Oklahoma County Sheriff
Mark Myers has lead the OCSO to become a leader in the implementation of social media and one of the most followed sheriff’s offices in the country. Whether sharing information regarding natural disasters, arrests, traffic, crime incidents, or sharing community services information, social media has become a priority within the agency under Myers’ direction. In May of 2013 central Oklahoma was ravaged by deadly severe weather that included tornados and flooding. With Myers’ leadership, the OCSO became a mainstay of information through social media. Additionally, the OCSO participated in the Global Police Tweet-a-thon. Mr. Myers used the event to generate leads in a 30 year old cold case.

Finalists in the other awards categories will be announced throughout this week on this blog. Check back to see the finalists for the Leadership Award tomorrow. Winners will be announced September 25th at The SMILE Conference™ in Omaha, Nebraska.

Finalists previously announced:

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.