Police Use of Social Media During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Although police agencies have been observed using social media as a communication tool in the past, little is known about how their behavior changed over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. To remedy this, a study contributed to by past PISC trainee Beidi Dong, PhD, looked at the fourteen most widely attended police agencies' Facebook posts between February 1 and May 31, 2020. The findings imply that social media has, to some extent, replaced the in-person communication common in past stressful times. The study also addresses public policy implications related to its results, concluding that their investigation, "explores the question of whether the use of these media can serve as an effective tool to connect the police with the public under circumstances where in-person contacts are greatly constrained."

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