Who’s The Star of The Show – #CopChat Topic

#CopChat Wednesday nights9pm Eastern Time (1)Tonight on #CopChat we’re going to take a look at the issue of internal brand management and who the star of any agencies social media program really should be.

We will also have a very special guest host!!

Kristen Rose will be tonight’s guest as we look at the issue of what to do when an individual becomes bigger than the agency along with the risks and rewards of this happening.

Kristen is an expert in communications and has been a #CopChat’r going back to the beginning. Chats are nothing new for Kristen as she was a big part of the success of #FraudChat.

As Kristen put it, “There’s a lot of layers involved in this issue. For example, do these social media rockstars have a greater reach than their agency? What are the benefits/risks involved with that? Are agencies threatened by this, or do they see it as a plus?”

Join us tonight on Twitter at 9:00pm eastern time to look at, “What happens when an officer’s personal brand outshines the agency brand?”

Here are a couple of articles as food for thought:
Who owns the brand?
Employee sued over Twitter followers?
Follow up to the above link: In December 2012, the PhoneDog and Kravitz settled in PhoneDog v. Kravitz, No. 11-03474 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 8, 2013). Although the details of the settlement are confidential, Kravitz continues to use the Twitter handle @noahkravitz

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Cyber Safety For Families Registration

On Thursday, February 12th I’ll be presenting “Cyber Safety For Families” at 2:00 pm and again at 8:00 pm.Registration for Cyber Safety Webinar

This is a very similar presentation to the one I do for schools, parents associations and clubs and it’s an updated version of the presentations given online last year.

Some of the information that we’ll be discussing is:

  • The most popular tools, platforms and apps that kids are using today.
  • Things you need to avoid doing online.
  • Settings to help protect your privacy and security.
  • Real life consequences for online activity.
  • Reputation management.
  • Safety starts in the home.
  • Identifying cyber bullying.
  • Resources.

These will be completely interactive presentation…you have a question? There will be a chat feature to ask them right there and then.

An incredible number of parents have no idea what their children are doing online or the real dangers that are present within and beyond their control. We’ll help you through the biggest issues for kids online today and how you can better equip them and yourself for the future.

To register for the 2:00 PM session, click here or cut and past the link below into your browser.

To register for the 8:00 PM session, click here or cut and past the link below into your browser.

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Celebrating the 20th Police Podcast Recording

20 days ago The Police Podcast was released on iTunes and Stitcher and I have had an awesome time interviewing some amazing guests and talking about some things that are important for all of us, police and public alike.

I just recorded for the 20th time which will be published on Thursday (as full episode number 9) and I feel like celebrating!!!

Most of The Police Podcast is about social media and law enforcement so what better way then to offer a deal on The #LESM Conference Videos again (the first fully online conference for law enforcement social media professionals).

The 15 videos normally sell for $400 but for a very limited time, I’m knocking 50% of the price for you!

All you have to do is click this link and apply the discount code LESMCONF. You can also order any video on it’s own and receive the same 50% discount using the same code. You can find all of the videos here.

LESM Conference Videos

Like I said, I feel like celebrating.


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Social Media and Freedom of Speech

Policies, procedures, guidelines and training all attempt to help and guide a law enforcement officer’s decision-making and set the boundaries for what should and shouldn’t be done. But, is that enough?

Police are to be neutral and leave their opinions at the door when they walk out on the street to enforce laws and protect the public. All too often lately we are seeing that the opinions expressed while off-duty can easily carry over into their on-duty existence.

Agencies are struggling with the idea of protecting an individuals right to freedom of speech while balancing that freedom with protecting the reputation of the department, or more importantly the reputation and effectiveness of the officer.

It is very easy to get emotionally charged up and try to express what you are feeling on the playground of social media but that expression can cost you.

Yes you have rights protecting your speech, but in the grander scheme of things, should you exercise them? In  some cases, absolutely not.

Officers are getting investigated and disciplined for expressing their thoughts in their private lives which may never be shown or expressed while working. You may be incredible at dividing your personal feelings from your work obligations and never do anything wrong, but one post, like, share on social can be used against you in your profession, rightly or wrong…that’s reality.

One way you can protect yourself is through great security and privacy settings on your social media accounts. Download this free presentation to learn how to do that. (You’ll have to email me for the password to the file).

The BEST way to protect yourself is just to refrain from making a post that will bring your integrity, reputation and professionalism into question.

Related Article: http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/can-police-agencies-restrict-officers-freedom-spee/nj5ZY/





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When does political correctness go to far? #CopChat

We live in a world that over the past 25 years or so has seen the move of political correctness take hold of the lexicon of communication to the point where some things that were at one time acceptable to say are now forbidden to even think.politcal correctness

The other day I wrote about an example of this in regards to the US Army deleting a tweet and changing the title of a story due to the use of the term, “Chinks in the armour.”

It stirred up a lot of debate on both sides of the story but most stated that the US Army was wrong in its move to change the terminology used.

Tonight on #CopChat we’ll talk about the effect that political correctness has occurred over time and how it impacts communication…many times, honest communication.

What happens when we say something wrong or that people don’t agree with? The answer nowadays is to vilify the person who said it and go into attack mode.

Has the truth been lost in this change or was it a needed and necessary change that has taken place over time and how does it relate to the communication efforts of police agencies and the communities they serve online.

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Intention vs Perception and Reality

On January 28th, 2015 the United States Army published an article and did what most of do nowadays to promote our work…they tweeted it out.


Is this an offensive tweet?

It didn’t take long for people to voice their disappointment about the tweet and take to twitter to do so, including some members of the US Armed Forces…

This person thinks it's offensive.

This person thinks it’s offensive.

And so does this person

And so does this person

I don’t find the original tweet offensive. I look at it in the context that it was meant for. The term in question?

Chinks…in the armor

The use of a 15th century term from England didn’t offend me and it still doesn’t offend me, BUT, I can understand and see why some people may be offended. The term, nor the article that it was associated to had nothing to do with the slang term that is used to describe people of Chinese or east Asian decent.

Contextually it was the perfect term to describe the story but in reality you also must look at the perception that it can be viewed as. It is an offensive term to some people and means nothing to others. Intention doesn’t pay into the perception whatsoever.

I’ve often said Twitter needs to be thought of as a Chess game at times and this is one of those times.

Photo Credit: Salvatore Vuono

Photo Credit: Salvatore Vuono

In chess, you try to play moves on the board in your mind first to decide your best course of action and determine how your move may be interpreted by your opponent. If you’re going to make a move that anyone should have been able to recognize as having a secondary meaning that could offend not just a person, but a people, then there should have been some consideration to the ramifications of doing it.

We live in a very soft skinned time where you can be quickly chastised for saying anything that can be taken out of context or taken to be offensive when there was never any intent to be offensive. The demands are simple when this happens…fix it, fix it fast and own it.

From the Washington Post

Lt. Col. Alayne Conway, an Army public affairs officer, said the service was surprised by the reaction “since there is nothing even remotely racial” in the expression.

“The phrase and word have been in use for more than 600 years; it is a proper noun, meaning a “crack” or “fissure,” as defined by Webster’s,” she said in an email, referring to the dictionary maker. “Nevertheless, based on feedback from some followers who expressed offense, we deleted it. It was certainly not our intention to offend anyone.”

Does this mean that every complaint that people have should be answered with apologies and deletions? Absolutely not. You have to factor in what the complaint is about and if it is a real issue or not. You will more than likely find someone who is offended by almost anything nowadays and that’s just the world we live in now where everyone can be a publisher and a media outlet and have instantaneous impact.

You need to measure your words carefully sometimes and just chose not to make some choices from time to time, just to be on the safe side. If you offend some people based on race, culture, ethnicity, etc, you might as well consider it offensive to everyone and avoid the strife.

The Army says there was no intention to offend anyone. The perception is that the tweet and article title could have been offensive. The reality is some people were offended.

One point remains unanswered here…some people were demanding that the Army apologize about the tweet in addition to the deletion of it. Do you think they should?

My thanks to SC of @NEMRTLibrary for the heads up on the Tweet/story with this question that would be great to see answered here in the comments:



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SuperBowl 101: Common Terms Explained

With the big game fast approaching, I thought it would be good to let you all know some of the common terms that you will hear during the big game and what they really mean when police officers hear them.

1) Superbowl Term: HOLDING
Normally results in a penalty. It is the act of grasping another player who does not have the ball and impeding their progression.

To sound intelligent: During the game, when the team you are against makes a great play scream, “No way, our guy was held. That was soooooo holding!”

Police Definition:
If someone asks you, “Holding?” They want to know if you have any illegal drugs on you for sale. Politely reply, “No man.”

2) Superbowl Term: BLITZ
A surprise defensive play that brings one or more defenders aggressively towards the quarterback in hopes for a sack (see below) or a loss of yardage situation.

To sound intelligent: On third and long when your team has the ball yell at the TV, “Watch for the blitz up the middle boys.”

Police Definition:
A common phrase to describe a person who has ingested intoxicants in the form of drugs or alcohol to the extent they can no longer care for themselves and require immediate attention for their own safety. “That accused before the court was blitzed out of his mind which is why he drove his car into side of the house.”

3) Superbowl Term: FLEA-FLICKER
An offensive stunt play in which the quarter back hands the ball to another offensive player, who in turn fakes a run then tosses the ball back to the quarterback in hopes of passing the ball downfield to an open receiver.

To sound intelligent: If your team is behind and their offence isn’t producing and they have the ball state very thoughtfully, “Maybe we need to mix it up a bit. This would be a good time for the old flea-flicker!”

Police Definition:
The glow associated to stoners when they are going to the FleaMarket to buy a bong or other drug paraphernalia, “Wow man, the lights at the market…it’s like a Flea-Flicker dude.”

4) Superbowl Term: INTERFERENCE
The action of illegally interfering with an opponent’s ability to catch a passed or kicked ball.

To sound intelligent: Timing is crucial here. If your receiver (the guy who wants to catch the ball) misses it and a yellow flag is thrown yell, “Yes, pass interference. 1st down. Let’s go baby.”

Police Definition:
What tinfoil does when worn on the head of people or placed strategically on the inside of windows. “The tinfoil causes interference so the aliens can’t hear my thoughts.”

5) Superbowl Term: SACK
The defensive act of tackling the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage while he still has the ball.

To sound intelligent: When the opposing team has the ball on offence and they are lined up to start the play yell, “Come on D…let’s sack him on this one.”
Really intelligent bonus combo: “Come on D…bring the safety on a blitz up the middle and send the corner from the outside. Let’s sack him on this one.”

Police Definition:
The container most commonly used to hold contraband items. “Your honour, the defendant was using a brown paper sack to store his drugs.”
Bonus Term: “Your honour, the defendant was using a brown paper sack for holding his drugs. He did not notice the uniform officers approaching due to the interference caused by the prostitute walking past and also due to his blitzed state. ”

Enjoy the Superbowl everyone.


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Friends…how many of us have them? #CopChat

Friends, followers, subscribers….accept my request.

Friends, Romans, Countrymen...friend request accepted.

Friends, Romans, Countrymen…friend request accepted.

I’m pretty sure Shakespeare had no idea that Cesar could be so friendly in the age of social media.

One of the most popular questions that I’m asked is, “How do we get more followers?” I will generally ask a question in return before I give an answer, “Why do you want more?”

This will tell me if the agency has laid out a social strategy or if they are looking to base their measurement on numbers. Both are necessary, but one is far more important than the other.

Do you want more friends, followers, subscribers to base your success on numbers or do you want them to base your measurement on impact and reach in your community?

Tonight on #CopChat we’re going to ask this question of all the participants because I’m willing to bet that there are several strategies that are at play which is why I can’t just answer that question without delving a little deeper.

#CopChat - 9pm ET, Wednesday Nights

#CopChat – 9pm ET, Wednesday Nights

I can give you my top 5 strategies for getting more followers and friends, subscribers and fans which are all proven, but they might not be exactly in line with why you want to increase your audience.

Who knows…maybe I actually will ;)

But, we’ll put it out there for everyone to discuss and talk about.

Speaking of friends…does anyone remember this one? Throwback time…


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What your community wants to know

One struggle that departments can find themselves in is finding great content to provide to their communities, that matters to them.

Sure it’s easy posting pictures that promote your agency or press conferences and news releases that ask for their assistance but to make those impactful you really need to show your citizens how their assistance benefits them.

What I’m talking about though is providing information that can make an immediate and lasting impact and makes them want to come back for more.

The question is, what type of information do they really want? Well the answer will come from the very same people who want it.  There are two great ways to find out.

  1. Ask them. You never really know what someone wants unless you ask them. Take the time to make a survey inquiring what they want to know or what is important to them.
    What do you want to know?

    What do you want to know?

  2. Listen to them. I often see members of the public asking questions of their police online. Very often the questions are similar in nature regardless of the jurisdiction which shows commonality of concerns.
    The public has many questions if you listen

    The public has many questions if you listen

Once you ask your community what they want then you need to answer them. But take the opportunity to use the law of averages. If a group of people have the same responses you can assume that many more have the same thought on their mind.

Chances are if you are listening to your online community you probably are asked the same questions on a regular basis. Once again, the same law of averages will apply.

Now time to answer them; not individually, but all at once. Take the time to make the answers creative and rich.

You could use video, slide presentations or write a note/blogpost. When done right this content that you’ve created can be used again and again as a redirect for when the same questions arise (which they often will.)

Think right now of the top 5 questions that you are asked and answer them. You will be creating your own great content and what makes it great is that it is content that your community wants.


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The Truth About Waze

wazeSome people in the police and law enforcement community are looking at Google to shut down the Waze App citing officer safety concerns and comparing some of the apps functionality to ‘stalking police’ software.

The question is,

“Is Waze dangerous to police safety?” 

Without a doubt the answer is a resounding YES! It’s just as dangerous as having a sign on a building that reads, “Police Station.” Or as bad as having a car on the street that has stickers on it saying, “Police Department.”

Once again, we have to look at the reality of the situation. It doesn’t matter what the tool is which is being used for the task at hand, it is how that tool is being used. Fire is great for keeping you warm, but it’s not a good idea to set your house on fire on a cold night.

waze2What is Waze? 

Waze is an app that allows crowd sourced information to be geo-located on a map to warn of traffic slowdowns, collisions, construction and police activity. The police activity is the concern here. Most people are using the police activity portion of the app to tell other motorists about speed enforcement locations or to report locations of police officers doing investigations, traffic enforcement and general duties (which the majority of the public has no idea what’s going on) they just post an officers location.

I’ve used the app and find it very helpful. I also have done many interviews about the app and the police location reporting portion of it.

As a traffic officer, I thought it was great technology. Why not let the public warn others about locations of police enforcement? The goal is to make roads safer and if by causing people to slow down that is accomplished, than great!

Do Police Have A Bona-fide Safety Concern?

Yes they do. Anyone who learns the position of a police officer through the app could use that information to facilitate an attack on the officer.

How Does That Compare To Other Means?

It’s the exact same. Many police agencies are encouraging their members to be active on social media which means officer are already checking into locations, tagging themselves at events, using geolocation services with geo enabled devices and reporting to buildings, driving cars and wearing uniforms that all put them at risk.

The biggest challenge here is the message that police are contradicting themselves with. On one hand they are looking for greater access to the information of the public through social applications but then asking for platforms to be closed down which pull back the curtains on the looking-glass into police activities.

Waze represents no more of a danger than Swarm, Facebook Check-ins or a well-intentioned community activity tweet. I’m not looking anytime soon to see police demanding those platforms be scuttled.

How Does This Compare To Posting Drinking/Driving SpotCheck Locations?

I’m very much against posting the locations of spot check locations or officers involved in tactical operations. The goal in those situations are to ‘catch the bad guys’ or disrupt an event. Posting traffic enforcement has the offset benefit of slowing people down and since traffic enforcement is supposed to be based on prevention and safety, it does the trick.

It’s not the tools…its the person handling the tool.

The leadership that has raised the issue with Google and their own memberships are very well-intentioned, but perhaps they didn’t get the proper counsel they should have sought in raising their concerns.

Here’s a twist…just think how effective a police agency could be using the app to notify the public of their activity such as traffic crash investigations, road closures, special events, protests. Just think about the community reaction when they are seeing information critical to their daily activities and planning posted by their police department. That would be a public relations win for sure.

For the final word, Captain Chris Hsuing summed up the debate very well in this interview:

The National Sheriffs Association has expanded their discord for the app.

From Officer.com:
It broadened its campaign with a new statement criticizing Google’s software as hampering the use of speed traps. The trade association said radar guns and other speed enforcement techniques have reduced highways deaths.

“This app will hamper those activities by locating law enforcement officers and puts the public at risk,” the group said.

There was no comment on whether the Sheriffs Association believed prevention of speeding or nabbing speeders held a higher position in their priorities.








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