American Journal of Criminal Justice

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 489–501 | Cite as

Effectiveness of Police Social Media Use

  • Michael L. Beshears


Specifically, this study was an examination of the role of social media for and by Arkansas sheriff offices with respect to community relations efforts and the solving of crimes. A review of the literature led to an examination of the relationship between predictor variables frequency and quality of social media communication, while using county population density and county social economic status (SES) as control variables. A hierarchical multiple linear regression model was used to evaluate the data that had been collected via a phone and online survey. All statistical requirements to use this regression model were met. Careful adherence to ethical standards was practiced. The relatively small sample resulting from the small population was cited as a concern. However, responses from 52 of the 75 Arkansas county sheriff offices provided sufficient data for the study. The predictor variable, frequency, accounted for a significant degree of variation in both dependent variables. The predictor variable, quality or variety of social media sources, was not significant, so the null hypothesis was not rejected. However, more social media sources increase the significance of the frequency. Overall, Arkansas sheriff offices surveyed supported the use of social media for both community relations and crime solving. The social media platforms identified as being used by one or more sheriff office or individual sheriff to connect with residents in their community included, a Basic Website, Electronic Newsletters, FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.


Social media Sheriff offices Law enforcement Community relations Crime solving Network theory 


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Copyright information

© Southern Criminal Justice Association 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.American Military UniversityCharles TownUSA

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