This article is a cross-post partnership with Bright Blue Line, celebrating the global spirit of law enforcement cooperation, innovation and support.
What have I gotten myself into? I agreed to jump without even asking what it was, or where was I going to land. I think the last words replied were, “Let’s do this.” It is a leap I do not regret. The landing is amazing and the Power of 1 is as incredible today as it has ever been.
Imagine that Power of 1 for locating a missing child or globally trafficked human slaves! The Power of 1 is the global network of communications. The Power of 1 is Lauri Stevens at ConnectedCops. The Power of 1 is the March 21, 2012 Global Tweet-a-Thon. The Power of 1 is the thousands of tweets directed to #poltwt.
The policing profession is often criticized for operating in a vacuum. The hierarchical command structure and assignment specialization creates a fragmented environment that regularly compromises congruity of operations. Right hand versus Left hand syndrome.
Breaking the Chains
Over the course of a day; officers enslaved by the same static command models, in the same traditional police organizations, struggling with the same challenges and the same cultures of resistance to innovative ideas broke those chains with a simple #poltwt.
How broken were those chains? Over 200 agencies from 10 countries, speaking 23 languages posting nearly 50,000 tweets. This first in the history of social media, in law enforcement, and in the technological culture of today invited the world on a police “virtual ride-along.”
The Power of 1 shined brightly for this magnificent fraternity of blue. On March 21, 2012, we operated globally in a seamless effort. Information via Tweets was transparently shared between agencies, media and citizens. A voice across the pond also advocating this Power of 1 has prepared several great articles at Nathan Constable
Lauri Stevens, who I’ve come to know as an innovator and envelope pusher served as the catalyst to this movement; the Power of 1. This orchestrated effort costs absolutely nothing to participate in, and the simple investment of time paid the dividends of creating history.
I’d like to believe that as a Chief of Police, I’m an early adaptor to this medium. Actually Lauri bestowed me with a title of “Twief.” I’m trusting her that it is complimentary. Honestly, after the initial agreement to help promote the Tweet-a-Thon with a supporting statement on her flyer, I was still fuzzy about the significance.
Then I saw that first tweet assigned to #poltwt and immediately realized just how significant it was and would be. That Power of 1 Tweet sparked a revolution. It signaled that law enforcement has the ability to harness the power of communications, technological cooperation and collective effort on a singular area of emphasis.
I’ve posted before that Chiefs of Police in social media are like cats in cold water. Scary to watch as they enter, but doable. Efforts like the Global Tweet-a-Thon help warm the water in the social media tub.
If I was to encourage law enforcement to hop or tip a toe into the waters of social media, I simply need to refer to the Power of 1; #poltwt. Read for yourself. A body of knowledge has been developed for best practice policies for taking the plunge into social media.
The waters are no longer murky. People like Lauri Stevens and many others around this globe continue to push and practice the best of what working together through transparent and immediate information sharing produces.
Personal Influence of Social Media
Earlier I posted about the “Stretch of Social Media” and then reposted an update titled the “Blessings of Social Media.” A young officer & friend was diagnosed with leukemia, and after battling through, he emerged victorious.
He sent a picture of himself holding a piece of paper simply reading “I Beat Cancer.” I asked my PIO to post it to our Facebook with a prayer of thanks. It went viral reaching almost a million people.
While Beyoncé and the Lebron James draw a million daily likes over posts about breakfast jelly, we serve in a mid-size city in south Louisiana. The Power of 1 post in giving thanks for this officer stretches beyond that simple paper sign.
What might a cop from Cajun Country have in common with a 12-year-old boy from the UK? The Power of 1; #SuperJosh. This hash tag connects me to a social media superstar loved and supported by cops literally around the world. They even dance the gangnam for him.
Another Brother in Blue, @SgtGaryWatts serves his community, and through social media, supports his friend #SuperJosh who suffers neuromuscular disabilities. Yes, I think it’s the Sergeant @gangnam999 doing the dance moves.
Cats to Water No More
What have I gotten myself into? A wonderful community of amazing people no longer limited by time, distance or communications. Sincerely engaging one another through the various social media platforms builds a network, a community, and an opportunity to step out of that tub, and dive into an exciting ocean. The Power of 1; #poltwt.
Did you participate or follow the World-Wide Virtual Police Tour? What are your thoughts about policing in social media? How often should we do #poltwt (more than once per year?). What should we do differently? Please contribute your thoughts on these questions below.
- Government Technology even gave Chief Silverii a Shout Out in this article covering the Global Tweet-a-Thon
- Calgary police join worldwide tweet-a-thon (cbc.ca)
- Omaha police to take part in tweet-a-thon (journalstar.com)
- Bethlehem Police to Participate in First Global Tweet-a-Thon(bethlehempolice.wordpress.com)
- Windsor Police Service joins world’s first global police tweet-a-thon(blogs.windsorstar.com)
- Palo Alto police to host virtual ride-along through Twitter(mercurynews.com)
- Police lead the world in Twitter campaign to keep us in know(manchestereveningnews.co.uk)