Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Monroe County Sheriff's Office Embracing Social Media

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Rochester: Monroe County Sheriff's Office Embracing Social Media
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Earlier this month, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office joined the legions of other police agencies across the country using social media to connect to the community.

The deadline to apply to become a deputy jailor in the Monroe County Sheriff's Office is Wednesday. You can find out information about that on the department's new Facebook page. You can also find out about the sheriff's public appearances and more about recent crimes and arrests.

The Facebook page, along with a new department Twitter account, came online earlier this month thanks to a new hire. Brendon O'Riordan, a former local radio reporter, is now dedicated to man the office's social media sites.

"The problem is being able to have staff to stay on top of it. If you don't' have someone following up on your Twitter feed and your Facebook and getting it up to speed and keeping the information current and flowing, it's not going to be taken seriously by the community. We were fortunate to be able to bring on Brendon," said Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn.

The Sheriff's Office joins the New York State Police and the Rochester Police Department on Facebook. The RPD is also on Twitter; in fact, recently hosting a series of Twitter Town Halls, where Chief Jim Sheppard took questions exclusively from tweets.

It is a sign of the times. A recent International Association of Chiefs of Police Survey of 600 law enforcement agencies from around the country found that 92 percent reported using social media. Of those agencies that weren't already using social media, the majority were considering joining within the next year.

Most commonly, agencies reported using social in their criminal investigations; 74 percent them said social media had helped them solve crimes.

"With the Twitter feeds, it's getting information out and letting people know what's going on and keeping them up to date and up to speed with all the functions of the Sheriff's Office. Obviously, there's interaction with Facebook, and this is what we're looking at - having that daily contact, communication back and forth with the community, and using a medium that especially younger people are using on a regular basis," O'Flynn said.

The Sheriff admits this social media world was not a part of the job when he came on, but a part of the world today, and one they're trying to keep in step with.

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