IMPROVING COMMUNICATION FOR THE COMMUNITY
The Broward Sheriff's Office has always strived to stay a step ahead of the curve when it comes to communicating with the public. In 1997, when many thought the internet was a fad, our agency bought the rights to the domain name www.sheriff.org – a name that most sheriffs nationwide would like to call their own. Our agency being one of the largest in the country, coupled with our popular domain name, is an internet law enforcement leader, receiving more than 20 million hits on our website annually. It is creative and forward thinking that is crucial during this new digital age of communication.
There is no secret that social media is an emerging trend. While there are many social media outlets, Facebook is by far the leader. With more than 500 million users worldwide and more than 150 million users in the United States alone, that means half of all Americans are Facebook users. To put this trend into perspective, it took 90 years for the home telephone to become conventional and only five years for Facebook to become mainstream. Most interestingly, the largest increase in demographics for Facebook is users who are 55 and older.
Another popular site for communicating is Twitter. This interactive form of social media only allows you to use a minimal amount of characters for messages (also known as tweets), but is commonly used to provide information in "real time." It also allows users to interact and forward on "tweets" to their contacts as they are posted.
I realize, as do many of my law enforcement counterparts, that social media can be useful in communicating important safety information. I am a firm believer that the more informed you are, the safer you are. That is why we are making some vital changes in communications at the Broward Sheriff's Office.
In 2011 we are launching our newly designed website. While our agency has long been considered the premier website in law enforcement circles, I realized we needed to incorporate more news-based stories, provide better navigation tools and include social media outlets. Additionally, each month we will e-mail an E-Newsletter to residents and business owners with safety tips and upcoming events. These changes, along with our existing CyberVisor program (an advisory e-mail and text system), will provide vital information about:
- criminal activity
- traffic issues
- security concerns
- upcoming events
- public safety initiatives
- important safety tips and more
If you have not signed up for our CyberVisor program or E-Newsletter, I encourage you to visit www.sheriff.org/cybervisor to sign up today. You can also follow us on Facebook at Broward Sheriff's Office (Official) and Twitter@browardsheriff. As always, you can e-mail me at Ask_the_Sheriff@sheriff.org.
I look forward to hearing your feedback on our new and improved communication efforts. I wish you all a safe, happy and healthy 2011!
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