Examining Community Policing on Twitter: Precinct Use and Community Response
A number of high-profile incidents have highlighted tensions between citizens and police, bringing issues of police-citizen trust and community policing to the forefront of the public’s attention. Efforts to mediate this tension emphasize the importance of promoting interaction and developing social relationships between citizens and police. This strategy – a critical component of community policing – may be employed in a variety of settings, including social media. While the use of social media as a community policing tool has gained attention from precincts and law enforcement oversight bodies, the ways in which police are expected to use social media to meet these goals remains an open question. This study seeks to explore how police are currently using social media as a community policing tool. It focuses on Twitter – a functionally flexible social media space – and considers whether and how law enforcement agencies are co-negotiating norms of engagement within this space, as well as how the public responds to the behavior of police accounts.
KeywordsPolice Community policing Social media Twitter
This material is based upon work supported by, or in part by, the U. S. Army Research Laboratory and the U. S. Army Research Office under contract/grant numbers W911NF-12-1-0379 and W911NF-15-1-0270. Support also provided by NSF SES-1559778 to McCormick.
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