In the police world, training is not only important, it’s an ongoing requirement. We train in firearms, hand-to-hand combat, mental health, driving, and the list goes on, and on! Our departments know how important training is. Most departments have a senior officer in charge of training, whose only focus is to make sure you get your training. Training has its own line item on the annual budget…and most of the time, it’s a big number! My point? We train because we know it’s critical to our departments being successful.
Chances are if you get moved into investigations, your department will send you to a new investigator school or interview school. If you are new to the traffic team, you might be sent to crash reconstruction school. Want to be on the DIVE team? You’ll need a SCUBA certification for that! What about when someone becomes the Sheriff or Chief? You guessed it! We send them to a school. Why? Because we know that you have to be trained to be successful! Are you starting to see a pattern?
So how do we select the person in charge of our department’s social media? Chances are it’s someone that the leadership trusts. Maybe it’s someone that showed some interest in managing the social media…or maybe not? I’ve talked to a lot of officers that fit into both categories. Maybe your agency is lucky enough to have a person who’s somewhat social media savvy. Chances are, the person running your social media has NO formal training. They’re likely not from a marketing or business background. An honest guess is that they’re kind of winging it!
Simply giving someone the administrative capabilities to your agency’s social sites doesn’t mean they’re ready. You might even be setting the individual officer and the department up for failure. Do they have a plan? Do they know when/what/how to post? What about the legal issues? Can they delete that comment? There’s so much to know before you take on such an important role.
Social media is a crucial part of community policing in today’s world. The community that you protect and serve expects you to be on social media. They expect to be able to not only find you, but to interact with you. When they ask a question, guess what? They want an answer! When they comment on your post with a concern…they want a response! Show the community the good things you do on a daily basis. Introduce the community to their local police officers. Social media can be a game-changer for your department’s community relations.
Have I convinced you that training is important? Can I suggest our 2-day social media training? We guarantee your officer will be better prepared and excited to take your agency’s social media to a much, much higher level.