Wilkes-Barre Township Police Have No Idea How to Utilize Social Media

thaHey, Wilkes-barre Township Police, I work in the digital marketing field. Social Media is literally my job. So, does that also qualify me to be a police officer? Oh, It doesn’t? So, what makes a police officer that is untrained in social media, qualified to run your account? Has this officer gone through trainings on the subject? Does he have a certificate in digital marketing, a public relations background and is there a detailed list of procedures in place when it comes to your social media account? Is he trained in crisis management communication?

I’m going to guess the answer to all of these questions is no. How did I draw this conclusion? Because if any of that was true, nothing like this would EVER be posted from your official social media account…

Nothing is out of bounds for these guys. Forget LGBT sensitivity.

They also posted this meme, although I don’t have a screen shot, as it appears to have been deleted. It was featured in an article by the Times-tribune.

Okay, so let’s break this down real quick.

This all started when the Wilkes-barre police department’s Facbeook account, made a joke about making a woman show her breasts. That was in bad taste for sure. Like, that’s stuff you’d get fired for posting from any business account, ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD. What did the Wilkes-Barre Township Police Department do? They doubled down on the post. They’ve claimed that they’re trying to humanize the badge through their social media tactics.

The fact that they can’t see why a post like that would be inappropriate and make women feel uncomfortable, is absolutely terrifying. Without directly saying it, that speaks to a “good ‘ole boys” mentality.

Do you think that post is going to make a woman feel comfortable reporting a sexual assault to an officer? What about being pulled over by a police officer late at night, alone on a dark road? You’re not exactly creating a “trust me” mentality, when you’re making a joke about tricking someone into showing their breasts.

Then, they decided to double down and post a meme that said, “show me where our Facebook post hurt you.” That’s absolutely INSANE to me. They literally posted a joke about a child being molested. Please, please, please think about this. The fucking Wilkes-Barre Township Police Department’s Facebook page, posted a meme, making a joke that referenced to child molestation! Please, let that sink in.

I felt like I was in an alternate universe when I was reading all of this.

Here’s something the Police Department needs to realize. When you post something from your official account, that’s seen as a representation of the entire department. The person in charge of doing it is literally your voice. Whoever posted this should be fired. I’m sure that’s not going to happen. It should. It would literally ANYWHERE else. But, it won’t here. At the very least, a REAL apology should be issues.

This is not an apology. It’s a defense. You’re defending what you posted.

“As we’re sure most of you have seen by now, the media has taken an interest in our Facebook page. Is our approach questionable? Maybe. Does it produce results though? Definitely. On top of that, there will always be a love’em or hate’em relationship when it comes to supporting the police and ultimately there isn’t anything we can do about that.”

What results does this produce? You got a bunch of comments and likes on Facebook. Since when has it been the mentality of the police department to get a reaction. This wasn’t a request for tips on crime. It was a post about Ocean City, MD that devolved into the department’s account posting offensive memes.

“There’s noting we can do about that.” Sure there is, you could NOT post offensive memes. This didn’t make me hate the police. I respect the police and I’m sure they do a great job. But, does make me question the decision making skills of the officer who posted it. Should someone that thinks it’s OK to post meme like that, in an open public forum, be managing a Facebook account or policing our streets? Should that be the example we’re setting for our children? No. That’s very poor decision making.

Also, I follow the Philadelphia PD on Facebook and twitter. What they post is generally great. They don’t do what the Wilkes-barre Township Police did. I’ve never seen offensive material coming from the Philly accounts, although they do often post funny things.

Hey guys, look how popular the Wilkes-Barre Township Police Department is… They have 60,000 followers on Facebook! *applause*

“The overwhelming comments/likes/support speaks for itself. Otherwise, how does a town with the population of 3,000 have 60,000 followers (and growing)? Almost every post we see comments related to “why are my tax dollars being spent on this!?” But what argument can we really make? Yes, approximately 30 minutes a day is spent on Facebook.”

That’s what a 15 year old girl’s goals are for her instagram account. It’s not what a police department’s Facebook page should be about.

If someone from the Department would like to know how Social Media actually works and how it should be utilized, just me me know. Comment below. I’d actually volunteer my time to provide the Wilkes-Barre Township Police with a class on proper social media procedures. At the very least, I would put them in contact with some of the great Wilkes-Barre social media professionals that I know.

In conclusion, this isn’t a call for political correctness. I don’t give a shit what anyone posts on their personal Facebook page. When you start posting as a business or in this case, a police department, a higher standard is expected. Different rules should apply.