Improving Community Relations through Law Enforcement’s Use of Social Media




Phillips, Adam J.

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



The concept of a law enforcement agency using social media is no longer a concept; it is a reality. However, there is a possibility that not all law enforcement agencies are taking advantage of the opportunity to communicate efficiently with their community. This is why social media platforms should be implemented and used by all law enforcement agencies to engage the community and positively affect community relations. A police department’s ability to communicate effectively with their community could be a key component in affecting that relationship in a positive manner. Major ideas both for and against this concept will be identified. These include how communication is vital in establishing and maintaining an efficient relationship between the public and a law enforcement agency. Another way departments can positively affect community relations is by controlling what information should be released, such as the content of a press release. However, to counter these positions, one could argue that having more knowledge could create a fear within that community. It also could be difficult to interact with people through Facebook if the personnel who operate it within the police department are not properly trained. Thus, allowing the public to understand how a police department is combating crimes presented through Facebook could lead to a reduction in fear (Lieberman, Koetzle & Sakiyama, 2013; Moore & Trojanowicz, 1988; Warr, 2000). What everyone could see through a department’s use of social media is an increased desire from the public and law enforcement to create a better relationship that could be seen as broken.


Police and mass media, Social media, Police-community relations