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, providing police training content on a wide range of topics and trends affecting the law enforcement community. Doug is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column, and has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips. Doug hosts the PoliceOne Podcast, Policing Matters, and is the host for PoliceOne Video interviews. 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

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