Wednesday nights, 9pm Eastern


Just prior to 9PM we’ll send out a reminder of the week’s topic and introduce the concept and ask a few questions for everyone’s discussion to get it all going.

House Rules

If you have a blog, website or social channel that you want to share, please do so at the begining…but we’ll ask that you don’t do any selling of products or services.  This chat is for discussion not sales.

There is no insulting, bullying or swearing allowed.  If someone says something that you don’t agree with, respectfully say so and have a discussion.  That is what this is all about…learning and sharing.

If a subject presents itself that you may have written a piece for feel free to share at the end of the chat using the #copchat hashtag.  If you share it during the chat, it could be lost depending on the speed of the chat.

If someone tweets something that you feel compelled to RT, do it! But, make it even better by adding your own flavour to it, or conversely, if you disagree, say so and provide the reason why.

If someone disagrees with your position take the criticism professionally…no twitter fights.  It won’t serve anyone with value.  Take it out of the chat and have your fight without the hashtag.  No one wants to see children fight…we want to see adults chat.

Finally…no tweet longer apps.  Keep it under 140, no one wants to be clicking links to see the rest of your tweet. It will take people out of the conversation.

How to follow

You will want to use TweetDeck / Hootsuite / TweetChat to follow the #copchat and you may also want create streams to follow @christammiller , @t_burrows and your own ID to ensure you can follow the chat, the questions and any mentions of your own name.

What is #copchat?

#copchat is a weekly conversation that takes place every Wednesday night starting at 9pm Eastern, on Twitter.  Each week we discuss a different topic from the world of policing, law enforcement and other like-minded industries as it relates to the use of social media, Internet, communications, community building, operations and investigations.

So what do you talk about?

Each week we’ll be picking a different social media topic that relates to policing, law enforcement and related fields.  Sometimes we’ll chat about pre-determined topics and others, it may just be a free for all.   We’ll be including industry and social media experts.  Other times we’ll be chatting about the business of policing and how the use of social media can help create efficiencies and effectiveness.  One week we might chat about how to optimize your social media presence for community engagement, the next week we might chat about how an organization can pick its social media team.

It’s ‘on Twitter’.  How does that work?

Whether you are a seasoned social media pro, or brand new to the world of RTs, likes, followers, friends and subscribers, you know that there are a lot of conversations happening at any one time on Twitter and it can sometimes seem a little over-whelming.

By adding the hashtag #copchat to our tweets, it becomes much easier for everyone to keep up with the conversation and follow along with what’s happening!  Think of the #copchat hashtag as an ‘identifier’ that we add to our tweets so that we can all be on the same page and not miss any of the great information and content.  Later, you can search the term #copchat, you can quickly and easily see all the tweets that are related to our discussion!

Without the #copchat hashtag included in the tweets, the conversation could be scattered all over the place, and you may miss a lot of the conversation or worse, really confuse  your followers!

What about security?

We ask those involved in #copchat to be mindful that this is an open forum that anyone can see and take part in, including the public.  No one should ever be discussing investigative techniques, active cases, matters before the courts or anything that may identify an officer, their family or compromise the safety of anyone.  #copchat is open so that we can all learn from one another about the use of social media.

Can anyone join #copchat

Yes.  #copchat is open for everyone.  One of the major attractions of social media use by police, law enforcement and similar organizations is to engage better with the public and open the lines of communications.  #copchat can provide a relaxed and less regimented place for the public and police to interact and share with one another.  Remember what Peel said, “The people are the police and the police are the people.”

What’s the structure?

There will be a structure on most night’s, especially when there are guest host’s.  Those night’s it will be guided by the moderator’s via questions posed to the guest for their input first and discussion from there.

Other nights, it will be a simple open opportunity for anyone to chime in with content that is important to them, a question they might want answered with crowd sourced expertise and opinion.

Either way, the structure will be announced prior to #copchat that evening through a blog post here and tweets which will promote the upcoming chat the following week.

How do I follow along?

The easiest way to follow along is to by using a third-party platform such as TweetDeck or Hootsuite which allows for search columns to be created.  Create a column using #copchat so you can see all the conversation in one place.  You might also want to create a column with the Twitter ID of the moderator’s and or guest host and of course your @mentions so you’ll never miss someone chatting with you!

TweetChat is another great option that helps you stay on top of the chat and makes posting a breeze.

Come on out and join us!


14 Responses to #copchat

  1. Pingback: CopChat ep 7: Solutions | Walking the Social Media Beat

  2. Anne Grimes says:

    I don’t tweet, or any other things you mention, although I would like to add my comment. Well really, a significant portion of a population is excluded if we don’t make use of these social media things…….so thanks for allowing me to say something………

    I have had no dealings with police, and am just a normal citizen going about my life. When I read stories in the news the biggest thing that strikes me is the stonewalling that occurs by police. I find it disturbing and surely it’s a blow to the integrity you wish to maintain? Many ordinary people, who go through life with a degree of honesty and personal integrity that is not matched by those that ask the same,,,,,find it odd. When incidents occur, which point to the police as the suspect party, how secure can we feel when stonewalling is a result, and justice cannot be served? I speak to the wall of silence that occurred after the G20 event, but also to many other incidents that have come to light. Citizens can then point to you as examples, when they themselves are asked to divulge information.

    Can you reply to my inquiry?

    thanks, Anne Grimes

    • Tim Burrows says:

      Hi Anne;

      The majority of police agencies have very good websites and provide information on a regular basis to the public through the traditional media avenues.

      You are in the same position of most members of the public, never having had any direct contact with the police and being able to formulate opinions based what others tell you and what the media portrays. Admittedly, most people don’t meet with police under the best of circumstances. A ticket, an arrest, a problem of some sort, so it is easy to understand that we don’t always get the most favourable reports.

      To cause further challenges, police cannot always tell their side of a reported story since cases are before the courts, investigations are ongoing or rights may be compromised. I can tell you with great confidence that what is reported is not always the whole story. Two things that are basic facts… the full and open transparent truth is not what will sell advertising in the media while a cleverly worded title or partial quote is much more satisfying to do so. Police agencies believe in laying out facts that can be proven in a court or that will face due process. The public does not have to abide by that, so more often than not, many things can be said that are rarely challenged.

      Police are by no means perfect. They hire from the best that society has to offer, but like all of society that proves to have incredible strengths and weaknesses. Police are a reflection of society so they will have faults and the will have triumphs. Over 2 million calls for service and only a handfull of those made the media files in a way that showed faults in the police or ended up in investigations of police.

      In my experience police officers are always open and willing to talk with the public.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to ask your questions and point out concerns. I really appreciate it!


      • Anne Grimes says:

        Hi Tim

        Thanks for the response, I appreciate that. I understand your point of view, and certainly realize that stories portrayed by the media are not always correct or factual. I always read between the lines……I also understand the inability to comment from a legal standpoint or when something is before the courts. For sure, police officers reflect the strengths and weaknesses of all individuals, and most do the best they are able.

        One more question:

        You spoke of breaking down barriers and having a better rapport with the public…………can you tell me why officers dress is such a military fashion? Do you think this intimidating facade could be minimized? Perhaps you do have regular outfits, but it’s something I’ve always wondered about. It seems to me, that this in itself is a barrier to conversation, interaction and useful engagement,,,especially by those who are vulnerable or have reason to be guarded. If officers blended with the public, (and who isn’t a visual person?) you may have more success.

        thanks, Anne

        • Tim Burrows says:

          Hey Anne.

          I think the uniforms are vitally important. Yes, they do have a military look to them, but uniformity for police means safety for the public and the officers. The last thing anyone would want is to not be able to easily identify a police officer or mistake one with someone else. Think in the mind of a child… they recognize by look and they can spot police in a crowd. We need and want the same recognition from everyone. In an emergency, its nice to be able to scan around and immediately see the police.

          Blending with the public would work for reactionary crime management but that means an act is committed. Police would rather prevent crime and be recognizable and the uniform helps with that.


  3. Jennifer Temple says:

    I have had many encounters with police in my 56 years. Once upon a time we seemed on friendly terms but the wall grew thicker and higher through the years. In later years, sadly, it seems about a 50/50 chance whether or not a human is at the door. It does seem to me the good guys are REALLY! good and the bad ones are the pole opposite. On average I still like police officers but I will go well out of my way to avoid an interaction because if its the wrong kind of officer, I know full well, things may spin out of control quickly and somebody dies! No one would really be held accountable. When clearly caught in wrong doing they must step up and take the bitter medicine in the same way Joe Average would be forced to do. Time and again it is demonstrated that all are not equal under the law. The public hates to see the guilty or suspected hide behind the great blue wall! It is so bad that when an officer is charged, the outcome is a fore gone conclusion in the public mind. I once wanted to become a police officer but joined the St. John Ambulance instead. I worked along military guys out of Base Borden. The police could learn something from those guys. They back each other up but they never close out a friendly from civilian life. The police could easily get the public actively on side if they would just stop seeing every civiy as one of the enemy. A lot of us really do want to be friends again!

  4. Jennifer Temple says:

    PS: I am not a social media person and have no cell phone, smart or otherwise.

  5. Randy Schmidt says:

    Hi Tim,

    This write-up is not connected to any of the ongoing Twitter or other social media discussions you are involved in at this point in time. Please consider it food for thought for future discussions.

    You do have my admiration for starting something new and risky from a P.R. perspective. Unfortunately, the response to Anne only reinforces the concern about the ‘wall of silence’. As raised by Anne, the 2010 Toronto G20 is the best know example, with several hundred official complaints, ~100 name tags and/or badge numbers disappearing, paperwork missing, crowd and prisoner handling policies ignored, and many police somehow unable to identify their teammates afterwards. Toronto police were quite vigorous in using the media to demonize those protesting or arrested at the G20, including some misleading statements. These are facts, not media spin. Your response did not address how police have initially responded to the many G20 related accusations, before all the lawsuits. Instead you emphasized how infrequently police behaviour can be faulted.

    At the G20 over 1100 people were officially arrested, with many more hundred subjected to rough or threatening short term detentions while zip-tied, or being caged and then dumped around Toronto, or undocumented arrests for taking distant pictures of police arresting others well away from any protest. I have come to know one of the latter, and tend to believe him and his pictures, since like many of the other G20 arrestees he tried hard to get video evidence after the event. This group is much different than the typical complaining obnoxious drunks with addled memories. Maybe 50 of the ~2000 subjected to punishment at the G20 were actually guilty of vandalism or violence. The G20 was a debacle that the Toronto Police Service still refuses to lance. That makes your admirable task of building rapport between the police and the public much more difficult than if you were with any other municipal police in Canada.

    I am going to suggest a ‘human’ response the police should have taken instead, that would have lessened the hurt to people and police reputations. Police forces went to the G20 expecting an opportunity to practice the new crowd control techniques on normally unavailable large groups of ‘protesters’. The crowds never agreed to be unnecessarily practiced upon, such as happened downtown, at Novotel, and Queen&Spadina. If within a few weeks of the G20 individual police and organizations had made apologies, and contributed significantly to a ‘training’ fund to be used for victim counselling, much of the psychological damage and breakdown of trust could have been undone. Or maybe even made better than before. The Mennonites with their reconciliation skills would have been the obvious choice to administer this. I will go out on a limb and predict that as odd and unacceptable as Toronto police management and culture would have found my proposal, ten years from now police will look back and say “if only we had….”

    Hoping to have an opportunity to meet you for coffee sometime this winter when I am in Toronto,
    Randy Schmidt

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