Breaking News: The Hunt and Capture of an Accused Cop Killer
By Jeff Grainger, APR
Agencies, companies and Public Relations departments can and should break their own news. The Orlando Police Department (OPD) is doing that every day via social media, according to Michelle Guido, OPD’s public information officer. Guido was our host and guest speaker for FPRA Orlando’s June professional development breakfast.
The event kicked-off with a surprise guest appearance by Chief John Mina. He stressed the importance of working with the community and being as open and transparent as possible. For a police department, embracing public information not only helps in crime prevention and catching bad guys, but can humanize the police department and spread good news.
For OPD’s public information office, they focus on breaking their own news. Gone are the times when a law enforcement agency had to rely on traditional media for coverage. On their Twitter page alone, the police department has more than 120,000 followers. That’s a greater reach than the 6 p.m. newscasts of the four network TV affiliates. Michelle also suggested to use news judgement to know when a story will go viral.
The case study she gave was the chase and eventual capture of accused killer Markeith Loyd. From the initial call to the public for residents to be on the lookout for Loyd, to his eventual capture, the story played out on OPD’s Twitter page before there was a chance for local news stations to cover it or for the daily newspaper to break the story.
The event concluded with tours of the OPD Headquarters building, which is less than a year old. The chapter was also very happy to have FPRA State President Ryan Gerds, APR, CPRC in attendance.