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(Note: I’ve added additional Tweets since the original post. Scroll down.)
One of my big frustrations is watching public safety agencies failing to use the modern tools available to communicate with the public and press when the big one happens. Often when it hits the fan, agencies fail to provide the basic information that they can easily and instantly provide through social media. I’ve had tons of excuses why this happens. Let me show you an agency that has figured out how to get it done.
Just a little more than an hour prior to this being posted, a police officer in Howard County, Maryland was shot. I do not know the condition of the officer, but he or she is in our thoughts. A search for the suspect is underway. Howard County Police are about to have the first press conference at the scene, but look at the information they have been able to share through Twitter even before there was a confirmed shooting. This keeps the public informed and keeps your PIO(s) getting information out to the the press as a group rather than wasting prescious time on the phone during a breaking situation.
All times are approximate.
4:28 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews
Unconfirmed information about what is happening in the 9500 block of Washington Blvd. AS SOON as ANY info is confirmed, will update.
4:35 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews
Reports of possible shots fired in area. Update expected from scene momentarily.
4:44 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews
One officer shot. being transported to shock trauma. PIO is en route.
4:45 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews
Officers responded to the 9500 block of Washington Boulevard for report of man with a gun. One officer shot in exchange. Suspect at large.
4:46 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews
Police searching for suspect. No additional information about suspect available yet.
5:00 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews
MEDIA: Updates re: the incident in the 9500 block of Washington Boulevard will be provided via Twitter and FB ONLY. PIO enroute to scene.
5:24 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews
MEDIA: Staging area; Parking lot of fire stn @RT.1 & Corridor Road. Take 32 to Rt. 1 S to Corridor Road. ***Press briefing at 5:45***.
5:29 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews
***ROAD CLOSURES** Rt.1 @gorman Road; Rt 1 @Freestate and Rt.1@ WhiskeyBottom
UPDATE: Tweets following initial post.
6:46 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews
@ashleydijon – Can only confirm that Shock Trauma reports to us he is in stable condition.
6:54 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews
7:00 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews
CORRECTION: Officer is in serious condition. Previous tweet said stable. Apologies for the error.
7:01 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews
Officers received call around 4 p.m. in 9500 block of Washington Boulevard. Caller reported seeing a man w/ a gun.(cont)
7:02 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews
Officers confronted suspect who opened fire & fled into nearby wooded area. Search under way. Suspect:black male w/ black jacket, gray pants
7:05 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews
7:24 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews
*** MEDIA** please be advised officer is in serious condition. Previous tweet said stable. Apologies for the error.
Also on STATter911 …
- UPDATE: PGPD Officer Kevin Bowden killed in off-duty cruiser crash on Route 5 in Clinton, MD. – October 18, 2012
- FDNY & others tweet through the night … a very rough night. Social media, both a beacon in the storm & one that can lead the public & the news media astray. – October 30, 2012
- The not so funny rest of the naked man on the PGFD ladder truck story. PGPD say he shot a man before climbing the rig. – May 16, 2013
- Four pulled from Glenarden, MD house fire. PGFD says adult & 2 children dead, 1 child critical. – February 21, 2013
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