It’s not every day you get to be on an internationally recognized news program. And it’s not every day that Anderson Cooper, host of AC 360° on CNN, calls you the “Greatest Public Information Officer in the world” but both of these happened to Police Technical Instructor Doug Nolte (Social Media Methods) recently.
After a spate of episodes involving missing marijuana from the Wichita Police Department’s evidence room, Doug Nolte in his regular briefing to local media, introduced an artist sketch of the likely suspect: a mouse. The tongue-in-cheek briefing aired on local broadcast television in Kansas then began a life of its own.
The story was quickly picked up by law enforcement media outlets like policeone.com, and gained further national traction after being picked up by CNN. Within days, the story made it to Anderson Cooper’s evening news show AC 360°, appearing on the “The RidicuList”, a parting spot piece at the end of the program covering amusing stories and events.
Being a Public Information Officer requires a professional demeanor and ability to communicate effectively with the public. It doesn’t however, require a somber 24/7 presentation of “the facts” to the world. Managing social media channels within a law enforcement environment requires a different approach than the historic role of a department PIO. The ability to effectively communicate messages in this medium, in a way that the public will understand, and perhaps more importantly, appreciate and participate in, is the focus of Doug Nolte’s course Social Media Methods.
It’s not every day a police department is recognized by a major news program in a positive light. It should be noted that he public’s response to this story, judging from Facebook and twitter, has been overwhelmingly positive as well. This level of positive “press”, and the subsequently positive reaction from the public, cannot be purchased at any price, but is available for free for personnel and agencies that understand, plan, and leverage their own social media channels.