The last 12 months have been intense. In between a pandemic that threw off the whole world, the attack on the Capitol, incidents that pushed the BLM and StopAAPIHate movements into the limelight, the natural disasters, and political disorder domestically and globally, it seems like we’re back in the Middle Ages. Except that we’re not – we have learned through history, and people are equipped with devices giving them access to unlimited information. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out as expected and what history taught us is forgotten, and that information people are accessing may actually be mis- or dis-information.
Back on Justice Clearinghouse is Katie Nelson, the Social Media and Public Relations Coordinator at the Mountain View Police Department. With her extensive background in public information, she’s been serving as the secretary for the PIO section of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and educates local and state personnel of the California Office of Emergency Services on the importance of social media and its role in connecting with their communities.
This webinar tackled:
- The characteristics of the post-George Floyd era, particularly as it relates to the community dynamics and the spread of information.
- The political undercurrent that had been coursing throughout history and is kept unaddressed which ultimately resulted in divided communities.
- The value of law enforcement’s awareness of how their work is being perceived by the public and creates certain narratives that are then told not just within their communities but around the world.
- A glimpse of how the George Floyd incident sparked a global response.
- The two campaigns that have been brewing pre-George Floyd that communicated expectations from law enforcement in light of use of force incidents against people of color.
- A snapshot into the power of social media – how it is being accessed, how it is being used, the overlap between platforms, and what lack of social media presence could mean.
- The crisis of authority and character that law enforcement is facing and how social media can be leveraged to overcome these.
- The shift required towards a communication culture to deliver the information and reassurance needed at this time where public information is moving at a speed far faster than any of us.
- The first step needed to acknowledge the issue and own mistakes.
- Building the table in which dialog between law enforcement and the community can happen.
- Creating accessibility by meeting the public in the platforms they use and making information easily consumable, digestible, and shareable.
- Continuously learning about the conversations and issues that the public is having to be able to proactively act upon it.
- The two key elements when it comes to creating dialog and sharing information with the public, and the three motivating factors that must drive all law enforcement communication going forward.
- Tips on how to ensure that your organization is telling stories on the platforms that they prefer, and the importance of experimentation in terms of which platforms will work.
- The goal to keep out of the news through good PR and be agile as the information and challenges come in.
Points raised during the Q&A include:
- Distributing limited manpower and hours and choosing between traditional media and social media.
- The importance of a unified and polished messaging and not just let anyone within the agency make public statements.
- Working with platforms that have limited retention or archiving features.
- Best practices when engaging on social media, particularly misinformation and fake accounts.
- Managing social media accounts.
- Keeping the media accountable for the narrative or angle they present to the public.
- Accessing Clubhouse and the conversations that are taking place on this platform.
Other Webinars with this Speaker:
- Feb 10: Ensuring Your Chief is Ready for Media Interviews
- March 30: Public Information Post George Floyd (this webinar)
- Sept 21: Hearing Headlines: How You Get to the Meat of the Story
Resources and Handouts
- For media – When We Release Info
- Release of Information Policy Media Statement
- How to Get Verified on Twitter
- Handout Link: Crisis Ready Flow Chart
- Handout Link: Comms Card: In Case of a Media Emergency
- Crisis Ready Formula for Detecting Negative Virality by Melissa Agnes
- Chris Hsiung Audio – Strategies for Crisis Leadership and Building the Bank of Community Trust
- Florida Sheriffs Association Legal Alert
- Municipal Minute
- MVPD Social Media Style Guide
- MVPD Crisis Communications Plan
- Pandemic Messaging Strategy
- Naval Post Graduate School Thesis: Becoming More than a Digital Bullhorn: Two-Way Engagement on Twitter for Law Enforcement (Z Perron)
- Social Media Best Practices Tip Sheet
- Strategies for Managing and Releasing Video Footage in Crisis Communications (Hsiung and Nelson)
- The Divided Community Project
- “Responding to community members on social media is a must. Especially when there is incorrect information being discussed on a platform! I’ve had mixed feelings about response but this presentation made it more clear. Thank you!” — Bernardino
- “Excellent presentation on such topics as Culture Communication, Divided Community.” — Beverley
- “Great real-time update and love the We have to own it quote!” — Brice
- “Katie Nelson is an amazing resource, will be reaching out to her for guidance soon. Thank you!” — Brian
- “Katie is incredibly knowledgeable on all things PIO and social media; it was so wonderfully refreshing to listen to somebody with so much confidence in the topic at hand. I would easily sign-up for a week’s training course on anything she wanted to offer. I attended a PIO training when I first became PIO for my department …I wish [Katie] would have been the one teaching it!” — Cyndie
- “Katie Nelson was excellent and had a great balance of information and energy.” — DARYL
- “This webinar was very helpful with a lot of useful information. The instructor was very knowledgeable on the topics of discussion.” — DUSTY
- “I loved that this webinar provided a different angle from how news is received and perceived from within a law enforcement agency. I would love to know more.” — Freddie
- “There were a lot of actionable ideas and talking points presented. I will be working into conversation with my command staff a conversation about our communication culture. I will also be looking into hosting a poll on our social media outlets to ensure that were are meeting people where they are.” — Raquel
- “The explanation and stats on the significant influence of social media platforms was extremely informative. — Jillian
- “I knew social media was ubiquitous, but I didn’t realize HOW ubiquitous!” — KERRY
- “Clear, right to the point, statistics at hand, visual to illustrate, live survey, ethical message for a positive image of the law enforcement. Great point for the Public Relations importance in public information.” — Leida
- “The presenter was very good and very down-to-earth. Whatever opinions or pre-formed ideas we have about criminals and/or inmates (and many of us do!), we have to realize we are in the 21st Century and every action, word, or social media posting will get scrutinized to the nth degree so it is best to actively think through your responses BEFORE committing them to print or voice. Being on the law enforcement side, you are already “guilty” of some perceived prejudice against people of color/gender/et. al.” — Patrick