- Announce public safety concerns
- Community outreach/engagement
- Public relations
- Noncrime notifications (e.g. traffic)
- Solicit crime tips
- Monitor public sentiment
- Intelligence gathering & investigations
Ninety-one percent of responding agencies use social media to notify the public about safety issues. Fifty-nine percent reported contacting a social media company like Facebook or Twitter to obtain evidence. Of course, public posts that threaten or brag about criminal activity don’t even require a search warrant.
Most individuals use social media to contact friends, read news, increase networking, seek entertainment, or to research products. Suspects who send birthday wishes and post photos may find themselves informing law enforcement officers of their contacts and activities.
Only 21 of the 539 agencies surveyed in 2016 had used social media before 2006. Now most police leaders find social media management to be a top priority. Social media is seen as an avenue to communicate with the public and to investigate crimes.
What do you think?
However, controversy has followed arrest photos on social media that were humiliating to the suspect and derogatory posts about civilians made by police officers. When is it wrong for law enforcement to post on social media?
- Cooper, Laura L. "Social media use by law enforcement," The Nebraska Sheriff Magazine, Spring-Summer 2017, p. 18-19, 40, 42.
- Kim, KiDeuk, Ashlin Oglesby-Neal, and Edward Mohr. "2016 law enforcement use of social media survey," IACP and the Urban Institute Research Report, February 2017.
- McGrath, Felim. "Top 10 reasons for using social media," Global Web Index blog, June 7, 2017.