Lessons learned after one year of #SMILEcon

Law enforcement has woken up to realize that social media isn’t just about where their officers get themselves in trouble


Just over a year ago, we were winding up the first SMILE Conference in Washington D.C.

To think back over what has happened in just a year, even the mainstream media is now regularly writing about law enforcement's adoption of social media. In the span of a year, the law enforcement profession has truly woken up to realize that social media isn’t just about where their officers get themselves in trouble.

From getting out public safety messages during the floods in Australia, to monitoring and messaging protestors in London, recruiting new officers in Indiana, tracking gang activity in Cincinnati, busting finance schemes in New York City, tracing the steps of a sexual stalker with QR code technology in Toronto, and taking down child pornography rings worldwide, law enforcement professionals everywhere are doing amazing work with social media.

But unfortunately, over the past year, we’ve also seen more threats to officers’ safety online. Which brings me back to the SMILE conference. At SMILE we try to spend one day focusing on a special topic of importance to law enforcement. In Washington last year, we spent a day on investigations.

In Santa Monica, the focus of the second day was cyber bullying. In Chicago, we will spend an entire day on officer safety online. Presenters include Dave Marcus, the Director of Security at McAfee who will kick off the day on how people who want to harm cops use simple social engineering techniques in social media to learn where they live, and just about anything else they want to know. Detective (retired) Chris Duque will present on geo-coding and EXIF data in digital photos. Michael Vallez will handle threats with mobile video.

Detective CJ Wren will talk about how 30 of his personnel at Phoenix PD were targeted when someone pulled down their profile photos from Facebook. Nick Selby will lead a panel to discuss other issues such as what new facial recognition technology will mean to an officer’s ability to work undercover.

We try not to leave anything out. Monday will feature an equally impressive roster of speakers covering the important community outreach issues including getting started, policy development, strategy, reputation management and the like. And on Wednesday, we’ll explore more areas like forensic investigations at The Hague, Cyber-bullying issues, QR Codes in investigations and more.

SMILE has always been an international event. We have speakers and delegates coming from around the globe including Scotland, Northern Ireland, Iceland, Canada, and The Nederlands.
The full conference rate of $599, but PoliceOne members can sign up for $499 if they enter this promotion code: p1smiler.

We hope to see you at SMILE!

About the author

Lauri Stevens has over 25 years experience in media: social media, interactive media, web, television, radio, & high-tech market research. She is the Founder and Principal of LAwS Communications, a media consultancy for law enforcement. LAwS specializes in media management, with an emphasis on social media. LAwS lectures widely and provides consultation in social media strategy, policy and implementation as well as training. Lauri is also the Producer & Creator of the SMILE (Social Media the Internet and Law Enforcement) Conference™ and the C.O.P.P.S. Social Media Method™.

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