- Contact Name: Public Affairs Director Anthony Guglielmi
- Contact Phone: 410.396.2012
- Contact E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Date: 9/16/2010
The City of Baltimore, Maryland, Police Department (BPD) is located in the largest independent city in the United States. Covering 78.3 square miles of land and 7.7 square miles of waterways including the Chesapeake Bay, the BPD serves a population of about 700,000. This population is served by approximately 3,100 sworn officers and 900 civilian employees.
The BPD began using social media in March 2008. This initiative fit in with the mission statement of the BPD to improve the quality of life for citizens and the mayor’s plan to engage citizens in the safety of their communities by strengthening the relationships between police officers and citizens. Looking to Boston Police Department as a model, BPD began with Facebook and Twitter and has now expanded to include YouTube, and LinkedIn. Each site brings different audiences to the department’s messages.
The eight person BPD public affairs department is responsible for maintaining and updating the social media pages, something Director of Public Affairs, Anthony Guglielmi makes a priority. “It has become an almost 24/7 operation. The office is open from 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and whoever is on call updates the pages,” said Guglielmi of the social media presence. Smart phones have also made it easier for the BPD to communicate with the public in real-time, even allowing BPD officials to post information from the scene.
Recently, the BPD has taken a new focus to their social media presence: smart phones and mobile-broadband devices. According to Guglielmi, these devices have revolutionized social media and made information available constantly. As Guglielmi noted, “People don’t have to wait for the 6:00 news or tomorrow morning’s paper anymore.” The BPD distributes crime updates, recruitment messages, and officer activity on Twitter. In July 2010, BPD began using Nixle to disseminate the same information that was being posted on Twitter, but in addition, began distributing images of wanted individuals to subscribers. “Now if you’re having dinner at a restaurant or walking down the street you can have these pictures with you,” said Guglielmi. Information provided by Nixle subscribers have led to officers making arrests.
When asked what tips BPD could offer to agencies looking to start a social media presence, Guglielmi stated, “Embrace it to the best of your ability.” He noted that he had been skeptical initially, but is now a giant proponent of social media use for law enforcement.