Police impersonators exist in the virtual world as well as the real world. They portray themselves as officers, but some accounts have been found to impersonate agencies as well.
It’s a good idea to search for your police agency on the various social networks. If you find impersonators, report them to the networks. Most are good about taking down fake accounts. Don’t expect a social networking to take down accounts that exist to criticize your agency. Unfortunately, they’re not likely to help unless the accounts are actually pretending to BE your agency by obviously using the agency name.
Additionally, help your citizens to know your agency’s social media profiles really belong to the agency. The best way to do that is to make sure links to your social media profiles are prominently placed on your website. Although it’s easy for an impersonator to put your Web address on a bogus social media profile page, it’s nearly impossible for anyone to put a link to your social media profiles on your website. Citizens can then check your website to verify authenticity.
Want to learn more about social media, the Internet and law enforcement? Attend the SMILE Conference, which will be hosted by the Dallas Police Department, Sept. 28-30. One full day will be spent on public order, social activism and the changing relationship with traditional media. To learn more or to register, click here.