Social media in law enforcement: The need for an active presence




Strope, Brandon

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



One of the problems facing departments is the growing trend of individuals to turn to social media for information. This is not necessarily a new phenomenon, however it has certainly become a bigger source for news and interaction for most of the people served by modern law enforcement agencies. As a result, departments can be left struggling to figure out how to identify with those who desire to obtain information in this manner. New media platforms can be problematic as some agencies and command staff can be resistant to getting away from a daily or weekly press release to local newspapers. This can be particularly troublesome as social media also can twist information and misleading “news” can take on a life of its own. As a result, agencies that wish to stay abreast of the stories coming out need to be releasing them correctly the first time. Agencies need to have availability online to answer requests for information and to put out updates. There is not necessarily a requirement to use every platform, and some situations may only require the use of one or two. What is important is to be visible to the community served and to meet expectations. Not only is this doable with free training, whether online tutorials or in actual classrooms, it is also good stewardship of budgets. This is one affordable way to interact with citizens and build up favorable equity among the public. In addition to being a buzzword among modern law enforcement, transparency also aids in positive interaction with those served by an agency. Agencies of any size should make an effort to establish a steady and observable social media presence and should facilitate the modern era of information demand made on agencies.


police and mass media, Social media, Police community relations