FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!
Brian Cain

Brian Cain

Brian Cain is a sergeant with the Holly Springs (Ga.) Police Department, and is known as the "Millennial cop" on Twitter. He has been in law enforcement since 2000. He hosts and produces a podcast for Millennials in law enforcement.



Michael Bostic

Michael Bostic

Mike Bostic, of Raytheon Corp.'s Civil Communication Solutions group, specializes in open architecture, systems integration of communications and data programs. Mike spent 34 years with the LAPD. He managed IT and facility development, as well as the SWAT Board of Inquiry, which developed new command-and-control systems.
Technology

Twitter Comes of Age for Law Enforcement

The Boston PD increased its Twitter following by more than 500% after the Boston Marathon bombing.

May 21, 2013  |  by - Also by this author

One of the most lasting lessons that came out of the way law enforcement handled the Boston Marathon bombing came in the Twitterverse, where the Boston Police Department provided a clear beacon for using the social media platform.

The Boston PD's public information bureau steadied the nerves of its rattled city with its constant stream of Twitter updates about the bombing, manhunt, and eventual capture of the remaining suspect.

Cheryl Fiandaca, the bureau's chief, offered the first tweet on April 15: "Boston Police confirming explosion at marathon finish line with injuries. #tweetfromthebeat via @CherylFiandaca."

She set the record straight about the reported arrest; offered the first image of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev; and relayed this joyous news: "CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody."

In the process, the agency added nearly 300,000 new followers and has become the most followed law enforcement agency on Twitter.

Fiandaca provided a model for the possibilities of Twitter for law enforcement during a critical incident, as agencies continue to explore the possibilities of a social media platform inspired by the clipped, coded messages of public safety dispatchers.

In late April, "web intelligence" firm Bright Planet offered a deep dive into how police agencies are using Twitter. Nearly 3 million people are following the 772 active law enforcement accounts. The most common types of tweets from agencies report "police activity updates" and traffic alerts, according to research presented in an infographic.

The Boston PD's Twitter feed (@Boston_Police) had 332,219 followers as of the time of the study. In the days following the bombing, the agency increased its number of followers by 514 percent from 54,087 on April 2.

Other top-followed agencies include the Masachussetts State Police (32,502 followers), Baltimore PD (31,256), Seattle PD (29,469), New Jersey State Police (22,758), and Kansas City PD (21,230).

Tags: Twitter, Social Media, Boston Marathon Bombing, Boston PD


Be the first to comment on this story





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent Blog Posts

Just What the Hell Are We Protecting?
I do wonder to what extent the federal employees among our ranks ask themselves whether or...
Remarkable Statistics on Officer Response to Active Shooter Incidents
The author reviews the PERF report on police response and results from 84 active shooter...

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of over 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine