Posts Tagged ‘WebCase training’

Now available: 3 free model policies for social networking support

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Our 2-day on-site training devotes a fair amount of time to policy issues: investigative ethics applied online, undercover work, deconfliction, and employee stress management. However, while we talked about the need for policy, we didn’t have a model to offer.

Well, now we do! In the “White Papers” section of our Web site, you’ll now find three separate model policies: social networking investigations, official agency communication, and employee off-duty use.

Why 3 policies?

Law enforcement presence online isn’t just about gathering evidence. It’s also about ensuring that employees represent themselves and their agencies as professionals at all times (including not conducting investigations via their personal accounts). Also, just as agencies simultaneously conduct investigations and community relations in their communities, they should at least consider doing the same online.

The three policies complement each other, and as Todd is quoted in our press release, they’re meant to minimize the risk and maximize the reward of an online presence. They also fill a gap: while many policies are available from private companies, few are published by law enforcement agencies.

What the policies cover

The “Investigative Use of Social Networking” policy provides for:

  • Professional online conduct
  • Investigation preparation
  • Undercover work
  • Legal issues
  • Employee stress management

The “Agency Official Use of Social Networking” policy discusses:

  • Social media tools
  • Strategy for use
  • Communicating on the agency’s behalf
  • Restrictions on use
  • Handling requests from media and general public

The “Employee Off-Duty Use of Social Networking” policy includes:

  • Employee self-identification as a police officer
  • Confidential and sensitive information
  • Legal requirements
  • Disciplinary action

Because these are model policies, be sure to run them through administrators and department or other legal staff before you implement them, as state or jurisdictional laws may need to be specifically addressed.

Who will benefit?

We timed these policies’ release during the week of the ICAC Conference in Jacksonville, FL, where Todd is exhibiting. Now, we know ICAC investigators are well-versed in online investigation and thus policy – but we also know that their investigations can take them into jurisdictions where other detectives are not familiar with online work, undercover or otherwise.

So whether you’re an investigator whose agency needs social networking policies, or you know of investigators who do, please feel free to pass these along. You can refer others to the policy page using this address:

http://tinyurl.com/verepolicies

And if you have any questions, please let us know at info (at) veresoftware (dot) com !

Monitoring Twitter? Try Searchtastic

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Twitter is not the pointless what-I’m-having-for-breakfast exercise in narcissism that many people think it is. The Washington Post recently reported that gangs are now using it and rival Facebook to discuss their activities–thereby inadvertently incriminating themselves.

So, it’s a good idea for gang investigators, probation/parole officers, and other law enforcement officers to monitor Twitter to see what’s going on. Best way to do that? Lauri Stevens over at ConnectedCOPS offers Searchtastic:

Try searching Twitter with its own advanced search “feature” and you might come up a bit disappointed. Put in a term or hashtag and it will take you go back only a week and a half or so in time.

With Searchtastic:

1. Search usernames or hashtags
2. You can pull up tweets from weeks and months back.
3. You can search on a particular user and the people he or she follows.
4. Then, click on a word in the search results and it modifies the search by the word. Once a word is in the search results, if you want to take it back out, click on it again.
5. And the clincher: When your search results look like something that might be interesting, export the results to Excel with the click of one button.

It seems like in ten or fifteen minutes, you could design a search, relevant to any investigation you might be working, that’s full of interesting terms and Twitter usernames. Export those results to Excel and cross reference them through your other database engines and maybe connect a few more dots. Useful?

I tried Searchtastic on the hashtag (a way to organize tweet topics) #webcase, which I used in November to live-tweet training from Charlotte, NC. The first run found tweets going back to October, but not my class tweets.

During my second run, without the # symbol, I found about six pages of tweets. Some came from Todd (who tweets as @Webcase); others from people who had “retweeted,” or recommended, WebCase or something we’d said.

As Lauri says, Searchtastic is in beta, so it may not catch 100% of what you are trying to find. As with so much when it comes to online investigations, best is to run the search sooner rather than later. However, Searchtastic does find much more than Twitter Search; it does organize tweets nicely by username; and it does allow for export to Excel.

Find out more on Searchtastic’s About page.

Christa M. Miller is Vere Software’s marketing/public relations consultant. She specializes in law enforcement and public safety and can be reached at christa at christammiller dot com.