Welcome to my online course ‘Social Media Essentials for Law Enforcement’. My name is Joanne Sweeney-Burke and I am an author, communications, digital marketing and social media consultant, lecturer, trainer and mentor.

I’ve always worked in communications and media – radio, print, TV and now the online world, which is my core focus. My first book, Social Media Under Investigation, Law Enforcement and the Social Web explores how police forces are using social media to aid crime investigation, community relations, public relations and public safety and follows almost two years of research in this area.

As a law enforcement officer you want access to information in a timely manner and you also want to push out public interest information in a timely manner, right? So social media provides that vehicle and has changed the way we communicate on a daily basis.

Your role as a law enforcement officer is to protect your citizens and to be where they are. When we talk about ‘on the beat’ we now mean on the street but also online.

While this course is not going to touch on the broad theme of cyber crime, I just want to make the point that cyber criminals are studying the Internet to expedite and exploit their criminal activity, so there is a requirement on law enforcement to be equally skilled when it comes to the social web. So this is certainly a step in the right direction for you in your role.

I hope you enjoy the course, but don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any specific questions via the forum on the online school. I will also host a one-hour webinar with all course attendees every four weeks, details of which will be emailed to you. So I hope we can all learn from each other and share our experiences.