26 FUTURE TRENDS IN POLICING There is also an issue of sworn officers supplementing their income by working additional hours during their off-duty time for private entities. Some departments frown on offduty work at locations such as liquor stores and bars, while other departments see value in those assignments. St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith recommends that if a department allows employees to “moonlight,” it should have strong policies in place to regulate and approve assignments. Smith said that “off-duty employment is one thing that can get chiefs in a lot of trouble. Off-duty officers are wearing our uniform, they’re carrying our gear, and so they still need to be bound by the rules and regulations of our organization.” Minneapolis officials emphasized that it is critical to supervise off-duty officers properly and require off-duty officers to maintain communication with on-duty officers in the area. Minneapolis also prohibits its officers from working as bouncers. To improve communications between the Minneapolis Police Department and private security guards and off-duty officers, the police established a shared radio channel in the downtown area, which Dolan believes has contributed to a virtual elimination of bank robberies in the area. Dolan said, “It’s amazing how that partnership has paid off for us.” Other cities, such as Bloomington, Minnesota, have mandated that any contracts for offduty officers must go through the city. This allows the department to approve or reject assignments, set the terms of any off-duty work, and control the rates charged for off-duty officers. Cherry, who is from Baltimore, said, “We can convince our private-sector partners that they are better off working with professional police officers who know the city, know how to communicate with people in the community, and know how to go to court and get good convictions.” Chief Floyd Simpson of Corpus Christi, however, sees hidden costs in off-duty employment. For example, if an officer is injured while working an off-duty job, the city would have to pay the worker’s compensation. Police Chief Ken Miller of Greensboro, North Carolina, is glad to have private security as a partner in his city. Private security fulfills certain roles that he said “quite frankly we prefer our officers not do, such as building security. It’s a better use of our dollars and time. We would be pulling teeth to find officers who would want to do it. So I think there are ways to incorporate private security into the work we do without the fear of them taking over our responsibilities.”
27 Future Trends in Technology This chapter summarizes PERF’s survey findings and discussions at the Future Trends in Policing Summit regarding technologies that are bringing fundamental changes to policing. Police Increasingly Are Using Social Media Police departments across the country are embracing a variety of social media platforms, and that trend is expected to continue, as 98 percent of PERF survey respondents said that their agency will increase their use of social media within the next two to five years. Table 4: PERF Survey Questions: What types of social media does your agency currently use? And what types of social media do you plan to begin using within the next 2–5 years? Social Media % of agencies currently using % of agencies planning to begin using in 2 to 5 years Agency website 100% Facebook 82% 14% Twitter 69% 18% YouTube 48% 20% LinkedIn 34% 20% Police departments are using social media for a variety of reasons for two basic purposes: disseminating their own messages to the public, and gathering information from social media platforms to prevent and investigate crimes. Many agencies are using social media or expect to do so in the future in order to facilitate criminal investigations (e.g., observing suspects’ postings on Facebook for self-incriminating comments), be aware of the mood of the public during major demonstrations, share important information with the public during times of crisis as well as about everyday news and events, receive crime tips, and receive crime reports. A 2013 publication by PERF and the COPS Office, Social Media and Tactical Considerations for Law Enforcement, 25 notes that in many larger jurisdictions, the community expects their police department to have a social media presence through platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has used social media to help guide department operations during major events such as the NBA All Star Game in 2011 and the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2012. During these events, the department tracked large-scale parties and other gatherings throughout the city, and deployed teams of building inspectors, police officers, and fire department officials to ensure the events were legal and safe. The department also monitored social media to keep tabs on “trending” topics, such as whether large crowds of 25. Police Executive Research Forum, Social Media and Tactical Considerations for Law Enforcement (Washington, DC: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, 2013), http://ric-zai-inc.com/Publications/cops-p261-pub.pdf.