As the outgoing Chief of Police, I would like to take this moment to recognize all of our BPD Twitter and Instagram followers, and our Facebook friends who have liked our page to the tune of 1300+ "Likes" since 2011. Twitter at this time has us with 2937 tweets with 1887 followers. Not bad for a small agency, group of law enforcement, social media amateurs starting out in 2011. However, the real congratulations goes out to you, the followers.
This endeavor started as part of what we wanted to consider a "getting back to a community-policing philosophy." We asked ourselves, How do we connect with the community and communicate with them in this 21st century? Sure, face to face communication and interpersonal interaction is absolutely necessary but what we were missing out on was the trend that had begun. It was staring us in the face. The social media craze took off in our modern society and law enforcement needed to take part in the frenzy. However, we would do it as professionals always mindful of what we can and cannot post or say. We remained neutral providing the forum for citizens to share information but more importantly for us at the police department, to share more of our information, public information, to keep you informed of what occurs in your community. We engaged you on regular basis. We kept you up-to-date with crime, incidents and events. We hope we were able to entertain you at times with our postings. It was good and bad, sad and happy, but in the end we were able to connect with our community using this medium.
So, I hope the experiment worked and I truly hope it continues. If it were not for the assistance of a certain person who got us started with Twitter, Facebook, our Blog, and later Instagram, this would not be possible right now. I must recognize our tall, social media savvy, red-haired lady, whom I shall keep anonymous, otherwise she will shut our system down (LOL). That is only said because she does not look for recognition. We thank her 1, 124 times over for getting us going. I also need to thank and recognize the persons from various organizations and law enforcement agencies that provided training to us on the use of Social Media in Law Enforcement. Their experiences and knowledge shared at various training sessions at either the IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police), or SMILE Conference was very beneficial to the BPD improving its delivery of postings. It was only a matter of time before we would be gaining more followers and likes on our pages.
Special thanks to the IACP Center for Social Media , the Park Ridge NJ Police Department , Boise, Idaho Police Department, the Arlington Texas Police Department, the Palo Alto Police Department, Mountain View, CA Police Department, and the Fremont, CA Police Department.
During the implementation I was influenced by many different agencies using social media but the above departments, to me, were catalysts and pioneers in the use of social media as a law enforcement agency. We watched what they did and tried to imitate. We came close, but we will never surpass them. Thank you to all of them.
To end, I feel our department has been successful with police-community relations the last four years. The use of our social media platforms has made this possible. If not for those citizens out there engaging us and taking an interest in this, we would need to connect in other ways. That is still an achievable goal if these platforms were not around but the truth is, they are here and they are a unique way to connect and communicate. Thank you again for following, liking, re-tweeting, commenting, messaging and just being a part of the police-community relations initiative. Actively taking a role in your community is a positive thing that will change the way you think, feel and respond to events, incidents and emergencies in and around your area. An informed citizen is the best thing we could ask for to help us keep you safe and secure. Help spread the word to others out there to follow too.
I leave this department on Friday July 31, 2015 after 27 years of law enforcement service to the Borough of Bergenfield. I thank you for your support of the BPD. I hope I was able to provide you a valuable way of keeping our relationship strong by communicating through this medium. Please remember: