Learn social media in 3 days and educate your department

Talk to your department and see if they can send you to Chicago so you can report back with this vital information


The Social Media in Law Enforcement Conference (SMILE) will be taking place in Chicago on May 9, 10, and 11. PoliceOne members will receive a discount by going to the SMILE site and entering this promotion code: p1smiler.

As you'll see in Lauri Stevens' piece, which is a related article on this page, social media is becoming a massive tool for law enforcement, while sites like Facebook continue to be potential career-killers for individual cops. The importance of this conference is growing daily. Talk to your department and see if they can send you to Chicago so you can report back with this vital information. 

Check out the site for registration details. We asked some of the scheduled speakers what they will be talking about. Here's what they said:

Constable Scott Mills
Toronto Police Service

1. What are you talking about at SMILEcon?

QR Codes, Facebook Places Check-ins, Foursquare check-ins, Youtube Videos and Twitter become the new police beat.

2. Why is it (your topic) important to LE?

The police can broaden their reach from one person/one door to many by thinking to patrol/canvass the virtual world simultaneously when walking the beat and/or conducting a door to door canvass in search of a suspect. By doing checkins on Foursquare and Facebook while on patrol in the Entertainment District in downtown Toronto, reminders of personal safety, drinking and driving, and how to anonymously submit Crime Stoppers tips are engaged specific to the premise checked in at. A digital footprint of safety and police good will creating trust and relationships is left behind.

Fast forward to a sexual assault or a shooting in the club district, and the virtual patrol changes into a canvass for a suspect. Surveillance video and a officer's personal appeal for info is uploaded to the official police YouTube account, a photo of a composite image is uploaded to the police facebook and twitter, and flyers are printed with QR codes linking to the videos are printed.

The digital virtual world patrol starts immediately in the area of the incident by posting the images on to the Facebook check-in locations in the area of the incidents. This followed up with officers handing out flyers in the area and clubbers scanning QR Codes to watch the youtube videos on the spot on their smart phones .. Potentially generating suspect info immediately.

With purpose and process, the payoff of the virtual world patrol/canvass is never ending.

This is relevant to LE because it does not take a lot of resources to accomplish. Timing is everything, and resources are limited. The reach to targeting audiences based on location of the offense is immediate. It is essential for investigators to look at the virtual world in a timely fashion, because like a traditional crime scene, the evidence quickly disappears.

3. What are you looking forward to at SMILE?

Looking forward most at SMILE conference is the networking internationally of best practices to bring the world of law enforcement together to work together online as a global village of safety. Nowhere in 21yrs of law enforcement have I met more valuable and sustainable LE partnerships than at The SMILE Conference.

Captain Mike Parker
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

1. What are you talking about at SMILEcon?

Content is King: Writing and Sharing News Releases People Want to Read

2. Why is it (your topic) important to LE?

It used to be people only got their news from the news media. Now that law enforcement is also directly providing it via websites, instant messaging and social media, we need to write it the way the public and the news media want to read it, so they will return to read again.

3. What are you looking forward to at SMILE?

The quality and variety of speakers always provide great new ideas that we can implement. We are all learning from each other.

Deputy Chief Constable Gordon Scobbie
Tayside Police, Scotland

1. What are you talking about at SMILEcon?

I will be talking about the evolving use of social media in the UK by the police. I will focus on my role as the UK strategic lead on this area the journey I have had in the last 2 years in this role (which is additional to my core role as a chief police officer).

I will highlight the difficulties in establishing senior officer buy in, and that much of the initial progress was achieved by front line officers “doing their own thing” under the noses of their bosses. I will discuss how the creation of a strategic lead to focus on this topic has moved the UK police service forward, but it has been a slow and incremental process. I will discuss some of the barriers that exist within police forces to fully embracing social media and how they seem to be common issues in other jurisdictions such as the USA and Canada.

I will share my experience of how many of these barriers can be overcome and how the timing is right to more fully exploit this technology.

2. Why is it (your topic) important to LE?

I would hope to show the value of social media to a wide range of core policing activities, from community engagement, public order, and crisis management. Police leaders need to understand the importance of keeping up, joining up and leading in this field and their role as strategic leaders in making this change happen.

3. What are you looking forward to at SMILE?

As always, learning from others in the field so I can practically apply this back in my force. The principles of learn it, live it, give it apply as I'm looking forward to sharing my experience with others but gaining from theirs at the same time.

Detective Chris Duque (Ret.)
Honolulu PD

1. What are you talking about at SMILEcon?

I'll be speaking about how digital photos may be embedded with EXIF data that would put the the photographer at risk, especially if the photographer is in Law Enforcement. Specifically, data that would give away the location where the photo was taken.

2. Why is it (your topic) important to LE?

Officers should be aware that what they send out may put them at risk. A good example would be if you were to take a photo of a recent home renovation. That photo could carry geocodes that would reveal the location of the officer's residence.

3. What are you looking forward to at SMILE?

Making those present aware of the risks of technology that they take for granted. I’m also looking forward to letting the LE Community know that I'm only a few clicks away if they need any advice and/or assistance.

Dave Marcus
Director of Security at McAfee

1. What are you talking about at SMILEcon?

"Cybercriminals Use of Social Engineering with Social Media to Undermine Officer Safety"

2. Why is it (your topic) important to LE?

Social media is a medium that potentially exposes identity data, family data and related information in ways people have little insight into. This session is designed to illustrate how social media can be used against its users.

3. What are you looking forward to at SMILE?

I’m looking forward to discussing information security issues to a law enforcement audience. Information security needs a better relationship with a variety of LEOs and this is a great way to start that.

About the author

PoliceOne Editorial Assistant Justin Cox is responsible for gathering, editing, and posting the website’s daily news content. Using a variety of news subscription services as well as police sources out on the streets, Justin closely follows all issues related to public safety and law enforcement issues. In addition to his daily news responsibilities, Justin observes and pursues the hottest topics for feature columns and articles, with a special focus stories about the men and women who walk the thin blue line.

Contact Justin Cox.

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