Evolution of Policing: Part 1

Impact of Social Media

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Social media has wormed its way into most people’s lives one way or another.

It’s transitioned to such a big part of our culture that those who protect us now use it as a method to keep us safe.

“It’s became a more regular, standard way to communicate with the public back and forth,” said Superior Police Chief Nick Alexander.

In the past, the police have had to count on the public to get all information through press releases, reading the paper and watching the news.

Chief Alexander says that’s not a reality anymore, “We post something and it’s immediately being seen by people and then the public shares it and it spreads really quickly.”

They tell us the reach is endless.

“I’ve had people respond from other countries in the world on our facebook page,” said Officer Ron Tinsley with the Duluth Police Department.

“The press releases are still there, the community announcements, but we added the ability, or not really added the ability, but used it to our advantage to help solve crimes,” explained Alexander.

Chief Alexander was the one who started it all in Superior, “I realized oh maybe 7–8 years ago that this is also a great means to reach out to the public.”

This online communicating isn’t what comes most natural to them though.

Officer Tinsley says he’s had to do some training on how to use it best for his job.

“Doing it personally versus for an organization is two different things,” said Officer Tinsley.

They’ve both done research to see what people are most likely to respond to, because keeping those citizens safe and enforcing the law is really what they’re after.

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