I’ve been reading a lot, in the news and in emails from friends, about how budget cutbacks are affecting law enforcement agencies. One friend up in Massachusetts told me that too few cops were working shifts with too many calls. Backup isn’t always there when officers need it, and the tension is wearing on everyone’s nerves.
It’s tempting to say that social media could cure a lot of those ills. Get cops talking to civilians, discussing crime problems and ways to solve them. But in many communities, this is unrealistic.
It would take a lot of work. Even with an ad hoc arrangement—no research or policy-making or strategizing, just trusting officers to do the right thing—the trust-building with the community would take months.
And if officers are already pushed to their breaking point, if they have no time to blog and tweet when they’re on duty and want to spend all their off-duty time forgetting about work, what good could they do using tools they’re suspicious of to start with?
What do you think? Is this a problem that will have to work itself out once agencies get around to re-hiring layoffs and replacing retirements? Or are there interim solutions that agencies can start to deploy now?
Image: Thunderchild_tm via Flickr