Redwood City Police Department Receives International Social Media Excellence Award
For Immediate Release
JR Gamez, Redwood City Police Chief
Redwood City, CA—September 11, 2012 - The Redwood City Police Department announced today that it has been selected as the first international award recipient of The ConnectedCOPS Excellence at a Small Agency Award for outstanding work using social media. This award is given to a law enforcement agency of 150 sworn officers or fewer that has demonstrated overall excellence in the use of social media to enhance services to the public.
"Our Police Department continues to break new ground in how they communicate with the people who live and work in Redwood City," said Bob Bell, City Manager of Redwood City. "This award offers much-deserved recognition to our forward-thinking, technology-savvy police staff, and illustrates their commitment to effectively engaging with the community they serve."
The Department was chosen from a group of law enforcement agencies from three countries. The judging criteria for this award included leadership, creativity and innovative use of social media to engage, educate, and foster collaborative relationships with the public. Additionally, competing agencies were required to display a broad and deep understanding of social media that fostered mentoring and outreach to colleagues to promote the use of social networking in law enforcement.
Redwood City Police Chief JR Gamez noted that, "It is truly an honor to be recognized as an international leader in social media by the Connected COPS organization. The need to embrace emerging technologies allows our officers to provide a smarter and a more efficient manner of providing timely information to our community. The Redwood City Police Department remains committed to providing its residents with the highest level of customer service. "
The Redwood City Police Department introduced a Twitter feed in early 2011 as its first effort to explore a variety of social media avenues employed to engage the community in real-time. The Department's goal was to ensure the public trust through transparency and by informing community members of police-related events in their City and in their neighborhoods. The Department's social media efforts expanded with the addition of Facebook, Blogger, YouTube, Flickr, NIXLE and Vimeo to provide a variety of platforms to communicate, educate and engage the Redwood City community.
The Redwood City Police Department became a law enforcement social media leader in the Bay Area when their social media team collaborated with the Fremont Police Department to create the Bay Area Law Enforcement Social Media Group. The primary goal of this group was to help other government entities develop best practices, discuss community engagement strategies, and to present cutting-edge social media technology innovations. The group expanded its mission to collaborate with many other private business partners including Yahoo, Facebook and Nixle to keep the group on the forefront of trends, training and educational opportunities. The group has grown to well over 50 agency members representing five counties in the San Francisco Bay Area that meets quarterly and has become a model in the State.
In June of 2012, the Redwood City Police Department took public engagement to the next level when it launched Netop's "Live Guide" video and text chat to allow community members to have real-time, interactive video chats directly with a Redwood City police officer. The Live Guide service utilizes the latest technology for two-way text messaging with audio and video chat features that offer another way for the community to connect with the Police Department. Members of the public can use Live Guide to receive live online assistance with any concerns or questions they may have about police services or to receive help with reporting crimes online. This emerging technology places the Redwood City Police Department on the leading edge of customer service strategy by providing a new standard of "community-centric" policing and making the Department the first municipal law enforcement agency in the United States to provide such video interactivity directly between its police department and its community.