Editor’s Note: Ignoring Social Media? Time to Think Again.

TomMike-300-0
Sgt. Tom Le Veque of Arcadia (Calif.) PD and Capt. Michael Parker of Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department talk about the importance of social media during the SMILE Conference.

“To ignore social media is to ignore your patrol area and your duty to protect the public.” Pretty strong words from a person who should know -- Capt. Michael Parker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Capt. Parker was addressing a large law enforcement group at the Social Media the Internet and Law Enforcement (SMILE) Conference in Santa Monica, Calif. Attendees came from as far away as Australia and the interest level was off the charts at all of the presentations. No doubt about it, this is where the trend is. Crimes are being solved, communities are being enlisted and forward thinking departments are engaging.

Here’s a challenge to you, also from Capt. Parker: “The higher the rank, the less they know about what we’re talking about.”

The more I listened, the more I realized he’s absolutely right and it means that we all need to listen to those in our organizations who have the skill to get you up to speed. Presenters made clear that social media should be a key part to many parts of day-to-day activities, from background investigations to public outreach.

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