LAPD Leverages Social Tools, Uses them to Manage Crisis Created by YouTube

According to Montreal’s La Presse, the Los Angeles Police Department now has a MySpace page to recruit potential candidates. Faced with a tight labor market, the LAPD needs to be smarter in the way it tries to reach the 20-30 year-olds. The page is quite low-key (you learn basic information about the jobs and the salary band) but the article mentions that they’re getting between 5 and 10 e-mail requests per day.

The LAPD also has an official blog where they post official information and news about the police force. They use Flickr to host their related pictures and they also posted their official recruiting videos on YouTube.

lapd_youtube_recruiting.jpgAt the same time, someone recently posted a video on YouTube showing officers using a good amount of force (possibly excessive) trying to restrain a suspect. There are lots of debates on the Web about this arrest but the LAPD quickly offered an explanation on their blog via retired LA Police Academy captain Greg Meyer.

What it means: you’d expect a very traditional organization like a police department to avoid new technologies like the plague. I’m impressed by the level of usage of social sites like YouTube, MySpace and Flickr by those guys. It’s also very impressive that they have a blog and that they use it as an important communication tool. There’s no reason why any organizations could not do like the LAPD. Very smart! But remember, whatever social tools give us, they can take away as well. Someone could use them against your organization and you need to monitor closely what people are saying about you on these sites.

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