Infographic: Twitter makes inroads into police work

In the days following the Boston Marathon bombings, the number of "followers" for the @Boston_Police Twitter handle increased more than 500 percent in less than three weeks

Late last month, a “deep web intelligence” firm called BrightPlanet posted the results of their recent effort to uncover “exactly how police departments are using Twitter,” and  some of the findings are fascinating. 

For example, BrightPlanet discovered that nearly 3 million people in eight countries follow the 772 Twitter handles run by state and local law enforcement departments with English-language Tweets.

Not surprisingly, in the days following the Boston Marathon bombings, the number of “followers” for the @Boston_Police Twitter handle increased more than 500 percent — going from 54,087 to 332,219 followers in less than three weeks. 

In fact, following the Boston attack, the @Boston_Police Twitter handle became a de-facto PIO. 

Their Tweet “The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody.” was re-tweeted more than 140,000 times. 

Those are borderline @justinbieber numbers!

Check out the rest of the survey data below, and don’t miss my column today on how police at the Dallas Fusion Center are using Twitter (and other social media outlets) for criminal interdiction, without infringing on individuals’ Constitutional rights.

About the author

Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 900 feature articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA). Doug is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

Read more articles by PoliceOne Editor in Chief Doug Wyllie by clicking here.

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