(March 3, 2017) - Happy Friday! Today on our "Ask CCPD" blog we are exploring the why of law enforcement and social media. Anita asked via our website:
"I'd like to know where you get your ideas for what to post on social media. Do you have a strategy or a plan for what topics to cover and when to cover them? How do you maintain a balance between breaking news and showing the other, more human side of law enforcement? Thanks for everything you do."
Thank you for the question, Anita. Social media, for better or worse, is everywhere. News can travel faster via a Tweet or a Facebook post than it can via traditional media. Our strategy as a law enforcement/government agency will always be geared toward our ultimate goal of providing service, safety, and security for our citizens. Sometimes it can be hard to see how exactly social media can play into this goal.
For topics of discussion, it's usually based on the trends at the time. How many of you have grown tired of hearing us say "LOCK IT OR LOSE IT"? Raise your hands, I know you have. I know I have. But unlocked vehicle burglaries are a constant issue in our city, and so we are going to do everything we can to educate and inform on social and traditional media. Chasing down the burglars and slapping the cuffs on is just one way to attack the problem; a ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Maintaining a balance between the hard news and the fun stuff isn't too hard. We push out the breaking stories that the public needs to know about, either for safety's sake or simply because we are YOUR police department and we want to be transparent. We can't manufacture these stories (a.k.a. you can't make this stuff up); even when we take action on a big bust or incident, it was brought about by the bad guys. Thanks for giving me stuff to write about, bad guys!
We try to maintain a constant presence and ongoing dialogue with our citizens on social media without being irritating and getting "unfollowed." Everything has a purpose even if it's not always evident. The more random posts and photos will still have a goal in mind. Sometimes we receive comments like "Why don't you go fight real crime?" or "THAT'S an issue?" or "What's this have to do with law enforcement?" Sometimes the humorous posts get a lot more hits because of the humor, which leads to more engagement about the problem we're trying to solve, whether it's car burglaries or the "Photogenic Burglar" (I think we caught that guy, too.)
The light-hearted or funny posts serve to show our human side, to help tear down that figurative "blue wall" and gain trust in each other. I once heard a very wise (and funny!) man who happens to be a police officer remark that he HATES the term "human side." Of course we're human. We laugh, cry, love, mourn, and hope just like anyone else does. Sometimes the gravity of what we do, the terrible things we sometimes see, dulls our spirit and feeds the "robot cop" stereotype. Who trusts or relates to a robot? No one. We need the public trust to do our jobs. They are the eyes and ears out there that bombard us with Facebook messages every time the helicopter goes up (I'm teasing, it's ok, you can ask why it's up there.)
Social media is all about one thing: communication. Keeping the lines of communication open is critical to any relationship, whether it's between you and your significant other, or between a police department and the citizens it serves. Things get better when we talk about them, and we all want things to get better. That's why we will always reach out to you, whether it's through social media or arriving at your door to protect and serve.
Thanks again for reading and for submitting some great questions! You can submit yours at our "Ask CCPD" page, or on one of our many social media/community outreach platforms! We'll be talking again soon.
About the Author:
Corporal Philip Mullen is a nine year law enforcement veteran assigned to the Office of the Chief of Police and serves as Assistant Public Affairs Officer for the Cape Coral Police Department.
For the last 9 years, Corporal Mullen served as a Patrol Officer in our Patrol Bureau, and as a Field Training Officer, preparing new recruits for the rigors of police work over the past 5 years. Corporal Mullen is a member of the Cape Coral Police Department Honor Guard and has represented the Cape Coral Police Department across the United States. He is a recipient of two Lifesaving Awards and the department's highest honor, the Medal of Honor. Phil holds a Bachelor's Degree in Public Safety Administration from Edison State College.
CAPE CORAL POLICE DEPARTMENT | Public Affairs Office | 1100 Cultural Park Boulevard | Cape Coral, FL 33990 | (239) 242-3341