Podcasting for Police Departments
The Franklin, Mass. Police Department has joined the NYPD in using podcasts to communicate with the communities they serve. Franklin PD’s podcasts are hosted by Patrolman Brian Johnson, a 14-year veteran of law enforcement who thought the medium would provide a low-cost way for the department to show people that it does more than write tickets.
The six episodes of the podcasts, which is entitled “Franklin’s Finest,” have highlighted the department’s canine program, the tactical team, community service programs, and more. “They don’t necessarily always see it, but our agency is more,” Johnson said. “We have to highlight ourselves; we have to speak for ourselves. Towns aren’t just saying, ‘Here’s more money.’ We have to justify ourselves which is kind of new to agencies.”
In addition, podcasts can give the department another way to communicate directly with the public in the event of an emergency, though the department has not had an emergency warranting a podcast since it began using the medium last December.
So far, each of the Franklin PD’s podcasts have been downloaded several hundred times on average, although the department has no ways of knowing how many people are actually listening to the programs. However, feedback has been very good, and citizens have e-mailed the department asking for more and suggesting topics.
“We’d love to increase the frequency, and we’d love to get more feedback from people as to what they’d like to hear,” Johnson said.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Police and Security News (08/06) Vol. 22, No. 4, P. 41; Kanable, Rebecca.