Creation of a Social Media Policy for Law Enforcement Agencies




Bettis, James

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)


During the last two decades, technology advancements have had an impact on how law enforcement organizations operate. One of these technological advancements has been the evolution of the internet and the ability to communicate electronically. Twenty years ago, sitting at a computer, typing an email, and having it sent to the recipient almost instantly was a new and novel idea. Now a person can type their thoughts, feelings, and ideas from their phone or other portable device from virtually anywhere at any time. This is accomplished through social media. The use of social has provided new challenges and opportunities law enforcement agencies. In order to mitigate the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities, agencies will need to create a social media policy. This policy will need to address how the agency is represented on social media. This includes who will be allowed to utilize social media on the agency’s behalf as well as how it will be used for investigative and emergency purposes. The policy will also need to address employees’ rights as they pertain to social media use, both on and off-duty.



Police community relations, Police and mass media, Social media