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Social Media for Law Enforcement

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Social Media for Law Enforcement


This is just an outline of my class notes. The important information is in the links:


A lot of police departments fear social media. I can tell you right now that this is something police departments need to be very familiar with and that they need to have a presence on all of these sites – even if it is to simply claim their name and to make sure nobody else is pretending to be them.


Generally, the most important things you need to know are:

1. The rules for police on the internet are generally the same as the rules for the police in real life. Your conduct has to follow all of your existing department policies. You can have officers online in a visible way, like a uniformed officer and you can have officers using websites undercover, just as you use plain-clothes officers in real life.

2. You need to know exactly what your public information laws say you can and can't post online – you should already have policies regarding the release of public information. Ignore the words "media", "reporter" and "newspaper" and replace them with "website", "Facebook Page", "Twitter", etc…

3. Do your research – there are a lot of free resources online



Social Media for Law Enforcement

Course Outline – 04/14/2011

Middlesex Community College / Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council / Massachusetts Association of Crime Analysts

Lieutenant Glen Mills – Burlington Police Department, President – Massachusetts Association of Crime Analysts


Social Media Basics

What is Social Networking?

History of Social Networks


Social Media by the Numbers

Why is it important to us?


Social Media Usage

Intelligence Gathering – Passive and Active

Undercover Operations


Public Interaction

Emergency Notifications


Personal and Business Use


Creating Accounts

A discussion of Web Browsers –Firefox is Highly Recommended

Setting up an E-Mail Account – Gmail is Recommended

Protecting Your Good Name using

Setting up Facebook Profiles

Setting up Twitter Accounts

Setting up YouTube Accounts

The First Commandment

Never, ever, use your own personal accounts


Intelligence Gathering

Passive (Open Source)

Active (Working Undercover)

Visualizers – Myspace, Facebook and YouTube


Undercover Work

Legal Issues

Ethical Issues



Real World / Cyber World

Legal Issues



Legal Issues

Networking with other agencies

Routine Communications

Emergency Communications

Active Two-Way Interaction

Anonymous Tips

Integrating Your Presence Across Networks


Personal Use

Police Officers probably shouldn’t have personal profiles – If officers have profiles they should understand the risks to their careers, their safety, and to their families

Legal Issues

Disciplinary Issues

Profile Privacy

Exif (Exchangeable Image File) Data

“Checking In”


Instructor Contact Information:

Lieutenant Glen Mills – Burlington, Massachusetts Police Department /

781-505-4945 /


Resources: – A variety of Free Resources and Tools– Masspolice – Free Resources and Tools for Massachusetts Officers / Massachusetts Sample Search Warrant Templates are located in the “Files” section – Tools and Resources for Investigating High Tech Crimes – Training in High-Tech Investigations / ISP List – Social Network Search Tool – TLO is a Public Records Search on Steroids – Free for Law Enforcement – IACP Guide to Using Social Media – Christa Millers Blog on Social Media for Law Enforcement – Laurie Stevens Blog on Social Media for Law Enforcement – WordPress – Easy and Flexible Blog, Website Builder and Content Management System – Dashboard to Manage Multiple Social Networks – Dashboard to Manage Multiple Social Networks