Law Enforcement and Facebook — or the Laurie Smith Show

Guess who’s back, back again
[Laurie’s] back, tell a friend
Guess who’s back,
guess who’s back,
guess who’s back,
guess who’s back
guess who’s back
Guess who’s back…

-Eminem, Without Me

Christmas comes but once a year children, but with the Laurie Show, it’s just every 4 years.  Election years that is.  Like an odd year Leap Year just waiting to jump out at you; you know it’s coming, but you never pay attention until it’s there in your face.

I believe in social media.  Obviously.  I believe it is a tool that can be wide-reaching to enact change, to communicate, to share, to work together or just to be present and part of your world.

So I guess my question is, what is the purpose of the social media age in law enforcement?  Many agencies use it for a combination of things — communicating local events, arrests, emergency information, wanted posters, information about your local police, emergency road closures and if your the Internet Sensation, (I’ve been following these guys for months – fantastic blend of personal, community and LEO business from this guy) then you pretty much have an opinion on everything (BTW, check out this Chief’s K9 program, our sheriff could certainly learn the value of well cared for police dogs from this tiny, little agency that funds, trains and fully supports 3 dogs).  It’s a whole new form of community policing.

Now if you look at Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office web page, it’s painfully clear that this is not an agency used to distributing a lot of information… or even current information.  Which makes their FB page all the more interesting or disturbing, depending on your point of view.  The page is titled “Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office”  but honestly, it’s more like the Laurie Smith Is Popular Show.  Notice, no Shop with a Cop pictures — Sheriff must not have been able to make it, so we got even more Sheriff’s puppies in the park pictures.  And I REALLY hope we’re not paying an Assistant Sheriff time in any way form or manner for standing outside the Sheriff’s Christmas House. Other than that, there isn’t much there to talk about on the page.

There hasn’t been a law enforcement related post since November.  Even Wanted Wednesday barely eked out 2 months (I may be being kind here) with the last WW post well over a month ago now.  Really?  There haven’t been any bad guys the Sheriff has wanted to lock up since the beginning of November?  Impressive!  Pity it’s not true.  The last post that engaged the community in anything other than Laurie’s Excellent Adventure was back in November.  If you don’t think there are enough kittens and puppies on YouTube, run… don’t walk, RUN! to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office page, it’s all they’ve posted about for weeks.  Because Laurie is POPULAR!

The Popular Sheriff doesn’t need to worry about posting silly things other LEO pages post like posters of missing, at risk girls in the county, or applauding the good will of those other than yourself, wanted felons in the community, promotions, or just patting the good people in your office on the back… other than yourself and your chosen few that is… I have to say here, a little off track, I am amazed at the deputies I have talked to and their skills, experience and accomplishments that are not used or noted by the office, not promoted, not congratulated… unless there is a tie to a donor, or a special pet, or they’re currently gilded and in the more than good graces of the 4th floor.   I have learned so much about the potential of this office since I started doing this and how little that potential is accessed by this office.  This office is ignoring some incredibly useful human assets, often simply because the Sheriff or one of her 4th floor minions doesn’t like them, other times because they don’t appear to want to be bothered by learning about the assets in their office.  It’s amazing how deep the skill set and knowledge actually goes within this office and it isn’t fostered by the administration — at all.  In some cases, I’ve heard where it’s actually been crushed, shoved in a closet and replaced by gross incompetence because it offends the 4th floor when they’re confronted with the fact they don’t know everything.  They don’t understand, we don’t expect them to know everything.  We expect them to have the go-to resources AND use them to make it look like the Sheriff’s Office knows everything.  Anyway, I digress… back to social media…

Being involved in your community is an important part of being a Sheriff and she is good at this part of the job, when she needs the publicity.  I applaud the inmates that build equipment EVERY YEAR for the Christmas in the Park event.  It’s upsetting the only year we hear about it is this year, the year the Sheriff is prepping for an election.  And what we do hear is all about the Sheriff, nothing about the program for the kittens and puppies itself and what it does — are they ensuring a good home at a time where people buy throw away pets?  The Humane Society is involved, so no doubt they are.  They are a responsible organization, not that they’ve gotten anything near the publicity out of this that sheriff has managed to bring in for herself on this.  Nothing about the inmate program where the inmates are a learning a usable skill for their future.  Nothing but Laurie on the Laurie Smith for Sheriff Show.

If you look over my blog, if you talk to a deputy (out of uniform and off-duty, please if it’s about politics) about what is going on and why they need a new Sheriff, the Laurie Entertainment Hour that is a Facebook page epitomizes the problem.  While deputies are out dealing with 2 shootings, increasing property crimes, decreasing staff, aging equipment, lack of training and publicly letting the people know they’re tired of not being able or even allowed in some instances to do their job — almost all she has in answer to all this has been puppies in the park.  Oh, and that one “D- interview” that none of us should ever forget.

If only she, her staff and her PIO would put this much effort towards running the Sheriff’s office, supporting the deputies and engaging the community in working together to improve the entire community in a manner that lasts beyond Christmas.

You know Sheriff, I get you need to campaign, but using your PIO to work over Twitter and the Facebook like a personal PR tool while ignoring all the things that could be communicated to people about their law enforcement — it’s just another reason to say you need to go.  If all your administration has to offer via social media is the Laurie Smith Election Season Show, we’re not getting nearly enough bang for our buck.  We shouldn’t be paying for your election year publicity spin; we should be questioning your ethical standards for expecting us to do so.

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4 thoughts on “Law Enforcement and Facebook — or the Laurie Smith Show

  1. Why would the Queen Mother want to repair relations with her “special interest groups” that have the pleasure of serving underneath her boot? Yes she’s putting her best face forward (just not a face with her in her uniform) just like any good politician would. She’d kiss a baby if there was one to be found. Instead she uses cute little puppies. I for one am happy to see these BOLD new steps she’s putting forth. Maybe she’s ready to turn over a new leaf………………?
    Nope, I just checked. Hell has not frozen over and according to NORAD there were no reports of pigs flying. Those of us who’ve had the honor(?) to have worked with the Sheriff for over 2 decades knows she’s in this only for herself. She no longer cares about this department. I was recently reminded of how Laurie tried to leave her current job for CHP commissioner but was rejected. Anyone else remember that?

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  2. So I went to the Facebook page and have a question. Is the woman often wearing a dark suit the Sheriff? I scrolled to the bottom and never saw a picture of the Sheriff in uniform. Help, I am confused.

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  3. Desperate people do desperate things……………she’s winging it and sadly has boarded her own sinking ship. Cats and dogs don’t vote. Perhaps more time spent on repairing damaged relationships with the DSA, CPOA would be a great first start.

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