OMAHA, Neb. — The second annual ConnectedCOPS Awards were held at September’s Social Media and the Internet in Law Enforcement (SMILE) conference in Omaha, Neb., where eight individual officers or police agencies were recognized for their pioneering efforts in social media.
SMILE is an annual conference that brings police from around the world to discuss the most innovative developments in social media that police can adopt to grow closer to their communities and spread information faster.
Setting the Bar High
The categories for the ConnectedCOPS awards included excellence at both a large and small agency, leadership, civilian excellence, top cop, event management, campaign management, and the investigator award.
“It is still very rare for law enforcement to understand the true depths of engagement they can achieve with social media,” said Lauri Stevens, founder of LAwS Communications and the ConnectedCOPS Awards. “The winners of the ConnectedCOPS awards are the people and agencies who are at the forefront of this realization. So in turn they set the bar and they set it very high for their peers.
“Through these awards, I hope we’re able to signal to others that social media isn’t about checking a box, but rather should be approached with proactive strategy and strong governance. If we succeed, law enforcement can become more transparent but also more efficient and potentially put more bad guys behind bars.”
Police Chief Stefan Eriksson accepted the Award of Excellence at a Large Agency on behalf of the Reykjavik police department in Iceland.
“The use of social media has been an important aspect of information sharing for the Reykjavík Metropolitan Police, but importantly also in maintaining a relationship with the citizens in the last few years,” said Eriksson. “It has been crucial to realize that social media is not a one-way street but a town square, where the police and the people they serve can converse and work together.”
The Award of Excellence for a Small Agency was awarded to the North West Motorway Police Group in the United Kingdom. Supervisor Bernard Keyworth, who accepted the award, said the recognition was a shock because NWMPG had only started taking part in social media a year ago.
Lt. Christopher Cook of the Arlington, Texas police earned the Leadership Award for his department’s commitment to social media strategies.
“It’s truly a humbling experience and honor to be recognized as a pioneer in law enforcement social media,” said Cook.
The Civilian Award of Excellence was given to Bridget Fitzpatrick of the Omaha police, who credited her team at Omaha PD as well as Chief Todd Schmaderer for his continued support.
Deputy Chief Peter Sloly from Toronto, Canada took home the Top Cop award.
“I wanted to use my rank and role in the TPS to enlighten and empower other officers to use social media to improve public safety, public service and public trust,” said Sloly. “The Top Cop award validates those efforts.”
Sloly also gave a big thanks to Stevens and the SMILE Conference for giving him the confidence to build his award-winning social media strategy.
“I am very honored to receive the ConnectedCOPS Social Media Investigator of the year award and look forward to being part of a trend in law enforcement,” said Detective Sam Palmer of the Phoenix Police as he received his award.
Canadians Killing It
The Event Management Award was given to the Calgary Police of Alberta, Canada, and accepted by Sean Stephenson, who thanked his team for “their efforts round the clock on the day the flood hit and the weeks that followed, and all Calgarians for their support and for taking our messages and moving them from social media to social groups.”
The Waterloo Regional Police in Ontario, Canada, were awarded the Campaign Management Award for their social media efforts.
“It is such an honor to be recognized for this award. Social Media has proven to be an incredible weapon for police to engage, educate, inform and connect with our community,” said Gary Askin, who accepted the award on his department’s behalf.
For more information on the ConnectedCOPS Awards, visit http://connectedcops.net/connectedcopsawards-2014/.