Listen For Content Opportunities That Actually Help
Ever since the brutally tragic event that occurred in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday, February 14, my notifications have been full of stories from around the country about police investigating and or charging students with threats made via social media. The disgusting act of violence has spawned a bunch of 'copy cat' threats against schools and students nation wide.
I shared late last week that one thing law enforcement should be doing is reminding their communities of what they can do to when a similar situation arises.
"Run, Hide, Fight" is a natural thing that you can teach your communities through blogs, social media postings, videos and of course in real life interactions.
Teaching your communities that they should follow you on social media for accurate, trusted information when things go bad is another tool you should be adding to your messaging regularly.
Explaining things that seem obvious to you is something that should never be overlooked. You know that there will be specific areas designated for different purposes like staging, access, egress, media, parent holding, reuniting locations... etc.
Your community might not know all that so periodic reminders of, "What to do when..." scenarios are a great teaching tool that will always provide you content that is relevant and timely for future considerations.
But, let's take this one more step.... Listen To What Is Being Said
Back to what I said in the beginning about the notifications I've been seeing.
The fact that hundreds of investigations and charges have occurred because kids are saying stupid things online in reaction to the tragedy shows that there is an obvious information gap.
It's been the act of listening to what is being said that has allowed me to recognize this gap. You are listening to what your community is saying right?
And that gap is prime for you to be filling.
Obviously more messaging needs to be done around the laws surrounding threats made online and that there is very little room for "just kidding" with things of this nature.
The messaging can be directed as a teaching point for parents to bring up with their children. It's great for your school resource officers to be sharing with the teachers and students they interact with and of course, as part of your agency messaging. I encourage you to always look for incidents that get national and international media attention as ways to teach your own community... and no, they don't have to be negative. Even better if it's something positive.
But why wait for those incidents to happen. Stories told when the events aren't happening can be a great value since they won't be overshadowed or not heard.
Finally... to coin a popular term, "Too soon?". No, it's never too soon when you're talking about the opportunity to save lives.