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 at Large for PoliceOne, responsible for providing police training content and expert analysis on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. 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. Doug is also responsible for planning and recording the PoliceOne Podcast, Policing Matters, as well as being the on-air host for PoliceOne Video interviews. Doug also works closely with the PoliceOne Academy to develop training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

Doug regularly represents PoliceOne as a public speaker in a variety of forums and is available for media interviews — he has appeared on numerous local and national radio and television news programs, and has been quoted in a host of print publications. 

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).

Contact Doug Wyllie

Recommended for you

Join the discussion


logo for print