At the recent IACP conference, Shannon Lyons from The Harbour Group, LLC, Jeffrey Stewart from the Garfield New Jersey Police Community Affairs Division, and Ronald Bohannon from the City of Garfield Police Department, New Jersey spoke at a session titled “Social Media for Today’s Law Enforcement: Navigating the Challenges and Opportunities of Engaging Your Community.”
This workshop explored the potential of social media to enhance law enforcement’s relationship with the community. With great power of social media comes great responsibility. Instructed by one of the few Instagram-verified police officers, the presentation delved into real-life examples of how social media posts have impacted communities in both positive and negative ways. Social media fosters collaboration with diverse groups including car clubs, churches, and civic organizations.
In an ever-increasing digital world, social media has become a form of community engagement. Using various social media platforms in law enforcement can enhance community relations and trust by allowing community members to see that you’re meeting them where they are, even if not in person. It provides a platform for sharing important news, updates, and safety information. And it can help in soliciting tips and information from the public. Some key ways to heighten social media engagement include asking questions and encouraging comments, tagging other accounts in posts, publishing frequently, and prioritizing video over other forms of content.