Only a small fraction of police departments are using social media effectively, Lauri Stevens, a social media consultant from Boston, tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She said police can do better by engaging with people online and using social media for public relations. “The key to doing it right is understanding that it’s interactive instead of just putting out your police blotter every day,” she said. “The great majority are not getting it right.”
Stevens pointed to the Bellevue, Ne., police force as a department that uses online social networking to communicate effectively with residents. Bellevue Police Lt. Robert Wood said the department routinely “re-tweets” personal messages from about 10 Bellevue officers, who send updates from their mobile phones while on and off duty. Officers also use Nixle, write for a department blog, and post event notices to the department’s Facebook page.