Did #myNYPD really backfire?



Are the police perfect? NO

Have the police made mistakes? YES

Will mistakes continue to happen? They SURE WILL! 

Was #myNYPD a mistake? ABSOLUTELY NOT.  In fact I love it and I know many others love it as well. I applaud the NYPD for doing this. For reaching out and saying let send us a pic. There is no doubt in my mind that the leadership that put together the idea and launched it across Twitter yesterday had to have known what has happened was a certain possibility. Did they expect 24 hours later it would have become a global hashtag? Probably not.NYPD Boss flexible

The NYPD has shown courage in doing this. They are smart and resourceful. They have done something very few agencies do. Actually want to hear from their communities and come hell or high water, they are taking it all in.

Looking at many of the images from the #myNYPD stream I can’t help but wonder how many of these pictures are from individuals in the pictures or have they just been Googled and posted for the controversial impact? Next thing of note…the number of anonymous people and people who look like Guy Fawkes. More credibility just oozing out of the opposition to the NYPD. Lets not forget how I feel about them.

Between some of the nasty pictures….perhaps now is also a good time to mention that a picture is a snapshot in time. It show neither context or situation.  A person being carried by the police bleeding can be:

  1. Under arrest
  2. Being removed from a dangerous situation for their protection
  3. Being extricated from a violent crowd
  4. The victim of a beating not by police
  5. A police officerScreen shot 2014-04-23 at 3.29.35 PM

Unless there is context there is no way of knowing. Even if it is a person under arrest and they are bleeding I still say, “I need to know more.” As should anyone with even one tenth of an active brain because no one knows from a picture what led to the bleeding.

If every picture that was posted were of beatings and bad activity, then the NYPD would be no more because human rights law suits and constitutional law suits would have been so many and so one-sided that there just would be no more NYPD at all.

This is by no means a fail for the NYPD. In fact, this can be a big win for them. They have something that few departments have. A baseline measurement for public satisfaction and sentiment (albeit, not scientific nor accurate). They can build on it and do it again next month, and the month after that and the month after that.

I applaud NYPD and laugh at the detractors. Screen shot 2014-04-23 at 3.27.37 PM

Screen shot 2014-04-23 at 3.28.30 PM

#myNYPD has also decided to move into the global realm. Funny enough, pictures have shown up on other #my____ sites from the New York site. Even more credibility. It looks kind of desperate doesn’t it?

I love what the commissioner of the NYPD said, “I kind of like the attention.” Bill Bratton went on to say, “Often times police activities are lawful, but look awful.” That is a great statement that it seems few police leaders are actually willing to say anymore. Policing is not always pretty. In fact it can get down right dirty when you’re fighting for your life. People don’t call 9-1-1 when life is great. It’s when bad things are happening and they need the good guys to come in and help. 

Honesty, this isn't even NYPD

Honesty, this isn’t even NYPD

Way to go NYPD…can’t wait to see it next month. And the month after and the month after. Don’t pull back, don’t hide. Come out stronger and more aggressive. The world needs to know what the good side of policing is like. I wish we could have talked beforehand, this could have gone better.

Here is #MyPD

Officer giving a helping hand

Officer giving a helping hand

If you are a police agency thinking of doing this you will definitely want to avoid the mistake NYPD made with this campaign…more on that another time.

Posted in Branding, Communication, Reputation Management, Strategy | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Stop It! Please! Just! Stop!

Tim Burrows:

More great reasons mentioned here on why cross populating platforms is just plain bad. Great post D!!

Originally posted on Confusing Simple:

I don’t know who this person is, but they just posted at least three separate photos to Facebook. How do I know this? Twitter told me so.

Yeah, good for you.  You are assuming that your Twitter followers are the same as your Facebook followers, however.

Facebook offers a “wonderful” option to connect your Twitter account, so that every stream of consciousness you post on Facebook is relayed, and posted, to your Twitter account, and vice-versa.

If you’re a teenager, and all of your followers are like-minded, maybe this is a good thing.  However, for the rest of us, STOP IT NOW!


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Cross Populating Content

Here is the most recent post I put together for The International Association of Chiefs of Police blog, The Social Media Beat.

Cross Populating Content.

Yeah…there are donut pictures in here.

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Canadian Red Cross says #BeReady…what you need to know

There are many communities that are or soon will be seeing the impact of flooding. Do yourself a favour and take a look at this great piece from the Canadian Red Cross to help yourself be ready and be prepared.



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Making a Difference

Something really interesting happened on Twitter on April 15th, 2014 at 7:00pm. It had nothing to do with bombs, airplanes or Miley Cyrus (although all those things did trend on April 15th). This was different. A refreshing difference. A Twitter Chat happened that was unlike any other.

In Toronto, Canada, the police division in the city’s northwest corner held the #Div23Police chat. 23 Division is the unit responsible for policing that part of the city and within its boundaries is a small area that has a large Somalian population. This area has made headlines in recent years for crime, arrests, shootings and other such violence. So much so that concerted efforts were put together to help rid the community of crime and the criminals there.

By most accounts, the crack down has been a great success allowing a community a better sense of safety and freedom. But, a void was naturally created that needed to be filled with good, or the bad would easily return.

Enter something unique…Toronto Police entered with a unit designed to provide a bridge and outreach to the community. The 23 Division Somali Liaison Unit was formed and took up residence in the area. The perfect police and community bridge.

Tonight, that unit took to Twitter with their official account and reached out directly to the community. Now police doing Twitter Chats is nothing new. Often times it’s in the form of a virtual ride along or a series of broadcasts aimed at their entire population, but this was done for a very small area of a very big city.

10 Questions

The Unit posed 10 questions to the community all that had relevance to it and asked for their feedback in a survey.

If you compare each of those tweets to be a clock face, with each representing a number you get to 11 o’clock…almost a perfect circle. There is just one thing missing from completing the 12 hour rotation…later for that.

I’ve seen plenty of lip service and fluff by agencies all over North America in terms of “connecting with the community” and being available.  This folks is the real deal. The men and women in the Unit are boots on the ground. They are in the community, working with the community and being part of something great. There is no lip service here. When I saw the questions being posed I knew that the officers really want to know the answers. They will truly take them to heart and do what is in their power to help this community.

The Community

The police weren’t the only ones talking. The community was there as well.

Was this the biggest Twitter Chat? Not at all, but it was a first for this Unit and it was aimed at a small target audience. It was robust enough and did attract some attention so it was certainly a win.

2 Things

Two things every chat like this done by police really needs to include are:

  1. A reason
  2. Engagement

This chat had both. It is clear by the questions that the chats reason for happening was to gauge the communities feeling of the efforts the unit has undertaken and also to know how they are doing. There was engagement so it showed that the officers weren’t just throwing it all out there…they cared about the response give.  This chat also had a big bonus…the survey that was put out. That blew me away. They took the chat to a third level. They are literally giving every possible way for the community to give feedback.

12 O’Clock

I mentioned earlier that the unit needs to do one more thing to close the circle and let the clock strike 12.


They asked the community to do something. They gave a call to action. What they do with that CTA determines the closure. In my opinion, they need to go right back to the community and say thanks you showing the results of the survey and any action plan that is derived from the survey. That will bring them full circle.

Having said that; there is no doubt in my mind that the brain trust behind this has already thought about that it’s already in place to do just that.

Gold Question

Take a look back at one particular question. This is the highlight question for me and the one that can have the most significant impact on everything moving forward.

It does matter what crime statistics say or what data analysis reveals or what the officers themselves think. Perception is reality to this community. It might not be factual or even rational, but to the community their perception is EVERYTHING. The answers that come from this one question can make or break any initiative. If the perception is not addressed then the reality will never be seen.

That is a question that more police agencies and departments really need to address more. How does your community perceive something? Ask it. Listen to the answers. Address the perception to reveal the reality.

Well done @D23SomaliUnit.




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“Social Media is Tricky” ~ James Franco

Forbidden love between creepy old guy and young girl

Forbidden love between creepy old guy and young girl

James Franco said the above statement in an interview the other day with Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan on “Live with Kelly and Michael.” He is absolutely right…but not at all for the reason that you might think. In this case, what he should have said is, “When you try to hook up with a 17-year-old girl and she shares it with the world causing embarrassment and PR grief, then social media is tricky

See the video here

Read the complete story about the video here

I’m not going to debate if he is in the category of ‘dirty old man’ or just opportunistic. Let’s face it…there are lots of relationships with that type of age difference. (Franco is 35). I applaud him for his ‘facing the music right off the top’ and not hiding from the issue. That’s commendable…especially considering it was ALL out there already and it really couldn’t be spun at all.

I am going to take issue with is his reasoning that social media is tricky.  It’s not because it’s confusing or challenging or anything like that. In his case it’s tricky because he already has a huge spot light on him and social makes that light bigger.

For the rest of us, social media is tricky because of three key points.

1.) People can share everything instantly and widely.

2.) You can’t control what people share.

3.) Most people don’t take the time to understand the platforms they are using.

The first two you can’t control unless you choose to be extremely private, lock down your accounts and interact with no one. Case in point…I shared something about a friend of mine and he was extremely offended that I had shared it. He considered the issue, not for public consumption with my audience.  He himself had shared the same information publicly, so I didn’t see a problem with what I had done until he told me so.   It was not meant in disrespect or to create problems but I didn’t learn until later that it was something he didn’t want shared.  My point…no one knows what you are willing to have shared unless you tell them. Lesson learned? If you don’t want something shared…DON’T SHARE IT.

The third is all up to you. 

Once you get your head around those three points, the rest is easy and the tricky part is gone.

If you are on social and not in an anonymous way, live with two thoughts. “Is this something that I want the whole world to know about?” and “What would my loved ones/boss/mom think about this?”

If you are anonymous, just live with one thought? “If my identity is discovered, will how I’ve carried myself here create problems in my life?”

One more thing. I really like Kelly Ripa, but I have to take issue with her for one thing she said, “It happens to everyone.” NO IT DOESN’T Kelly. It happens to people who make poor choices or bad decisions. I wonder if her take on it would have been the same if it was a 35-year-old man hitting on her daughter?

Take away: Learn the tools you use, balance risk, assume everything is available for all to see.

Last point to ponder…Franco has a new movie coming out with eerily similar plot lines to what just happened. He also is a very intelligent man and in the media…

Could it all be a hoax to help promote his new movie?? :)


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Photo Tagging and more with Twitter

Twitter announced today on their blog that they will start to roll out a couple of new features.

1.) Tagging Photos

2.) Adding up to 4 photos in one Tweet

In the world of visual content this is a move that just makes sense for Twitter to do. Facebook has allowed multiple pictures in a single post for quite a while now and it really is great to see some of the content that can be made with multiple pictures.

iPhone users will see the new changes first, followed by Android according to the blog.

As soon as I read this, I updated my app so that I could try it out…alas, nothing for me yet. Soon though I hope.  But, what was already in place was the new privacy settings on my account via the web.

New privacy options

New privacy options

Twitter says that you will be notified when someone tags you in a photo.  So, I looked at my notification settings and there isn’t any changes there as far as notification options go. I hope this changes, otherwise it seems the default will be to notify everyone at all times that they have been tagged.

The tags won’t have any impact on your character count in a Tweet either. Tag up to 10 people and you still get use of your precious 14o characters…that is a great move!

The way you add a photo to a Tweet won’t change. What changes is the option to add more photos to a single tweet. When you add photos now, the option to tag people comes up.

I can’t wait to see some of the great content that people will be able to put together with the extra photos. I’m already working on ideas for some things to try out.  Have fun with it, but remember, to check your settings and make sure you pay attention to your notifications!

For the original Twitter Blog on these new changes, click here.

For the Twitter Help Centre article on how to do all this, click here.


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The Case Against Police Funerals

Tim Burrows:

I give no credit to the original author of the post that appeared in the Toronto Star regarding police funerals. Although by his title he may be very educated but he has no experience, nor did he really do any research to support his opinions. I think the response in this post by Rae-Lynne Dicks is worth the read.

Originally posted on Badge of Life Canada:

Reader’s Letters Friday Mar 21 2014

Re: ‘Offensive’ police funeral procession protestor wrongfully arrested, judge rules,March 17

Letter written by: Darryl T. Davies, Criminologist, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton University, Ottawa

Whether one agrees or disagrees with the actions of protestor Eric Brazau, who picketed a police funeral and then was subsequently arrested, you have to admit he does have a valid point. The fact police officers conduct a ceremonial march down the streets of Canadian cities every time an officer is killed raises a number of questions.
First, contrary to popular myth policing is “not” the most dangerous job in society. A recent survey shows that when compared to loggers, construction workers and garbage men, police do not even make the list of the Top 10 most dangerous jobs when they are ranked in terms of death and serious injury……Continue reading→
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The Greatest Factor in Improving Police

Originally posted on improving police:

Thankfully, the line which kept women out of policing has now been crossed!

Thankfully, the line which kept women out of policing has now been crossed!

This month is women’s history month.

What better time to talk about the important role women have played, and continue to play, within our nation’s police.

Women have long worked in police departments in caretaker capacities such as jail matrons or youth officers, but it wasn’t until nearly half way through the 20tth century that they became fully sworn police officers (and equal to men).

In Madison, Wisc., women have now served in uniform for 40 years. When I arrived in Madison in 1972 as the new chief of police, women officers were limited to working with juveniles. They were further required to have a 4-year college degree (the men were not). They also were not permitted to carry a firearm, nor even compete for promotion.

When I interviewed for the chief’s job, I told them that I would integrate the department with regard to both…

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New Distracted Driving Fine in Ontario…yawn

Not a social media post…just an ex-traffic guys rant.

Distracted Driving Fines to jump to $280 dollars!! 

Photo credit: CBC News (online)

Photo credit: CBC News (online)

Oh be still my beating heart!!! The cost for putting lives at unnecessary risk for the convenience of “staying connected” will be $125 more than when the law was introduced. That is some serious inflation! Hang onto your wallets come March 18 folks.

I am sure this will change the behaviour of so many Ontario drivers that have learned how to hide their device, steer with their knees, text with one hand and many other creative ways to ensure they stay connected for that small period of time that they are driving. I mean, an extra $125 on the fine…people on mass will be saying, “Nope, it’s just not worth it anymore.” (Please see the sarcasm dripping from the corner of my mouth)

I truly do believe that this is a great step forward. Anything that adds to road safety is a benefit to all of us, but why stop at increasing the fine? Did you know that the minimum fine for driving without insurance is $5000? Do you know that there are still people who do that? Sit in a court room sometime and listen to the fines that the courts impose for that offence. $5000??? Not likely. So why will this be any different? People will tell the judge how sorry they are, that they only did it this one time and they have learned their lesson and the fine will be reduced…substantially in most cases.

As a friend pointed out on Facebook where I put this post originally, the fine itself is a cost of doing business for some people. Sales, real estate, brokers?? Do you think $280 bucks is worth the risk vs several thousands of dollars in gains? Of course it is. Do you think the wealthy people are really impacted by an extra $125 fine? Not nearly as bad as a low-income person…but isn’t the risk the EXACT same to both?

So let’s make it something that can’t be argued away…ADD POINTS TO THE FINE!! When did seatbelt compliance really take a noticeable turn for the positive? It wasn’t a fine increase…it was the addition of points to the fine.

Make it an offence to not have at least one hand on the wheel at all times when driving. No more BigMac and Whopper eating while driving. A coffee will still be ok as will a french fry or two, but the big meals behind the big wheel will be out.

Perhaps the government could see a financial gain in all of this. Add a new condition to the driver’s licence. Perhaps a new endorsement that signifies you have taken an advanced driving course and you are allowed to now drive and use a blue tooth device. Most people who have taken an advanced course realize how bad they are at basic driving and recognize a real driver focuses at the driving task…no others. You pay private driving schools for the course, then take your certificate to Service Ontario and pay a couple hundred bucks and voila, you are allowed to talk on the phone.

Make a driving education course that you can take online or in person to reduce your fine or remove demerit points after a charge. You get the benefit of a more educated driving core and make some money on it as well. Private licensed industry could offer the government designed / approved program. Take a look at Florida…they do it.

Why can’t you text at a red light? Simple…attention loss. Traffic (pedestrian, cyclist, other cars/trucks) change continuously. If you have your head buried in your lap you lose those changes. Then the car behind you honks…you look up, see your light green and hit the gas. What you missed is the cyclist or pedestrian right in front of you and bang!

Road safety is every one’s responsibility, so do your part and remember great drivers just drive.

Full article that accompanied the photo above. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/distracted-driving-fines-in-ontario-jump-to-280-1.2550396

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