Police and Fire
The town of Bedford, Mass. has a number of high-end retail stores in multiple shopping centers in town. One of the biggest issues during the holidays? Shoplifting.
In order to curb the problem, JGPR worked with Bedford Police to create and launch Operation P.A.C.E. — Proactive Community Enforcement. We also conducted a media campaign around the launch of P.A.C.E., reaching out to local newspapers and inviting TV media like WCVB and WFXT to come out to speak to the officers.
The result was excellent exposure for the department and its proactive police work, and when the program worked and resulted in the arrest of several shoplifters, the media was still paying attention, resulting in more good coverage for Bedford PD.
Police Departments are beginning to understand the value of social media not just as a public outreach method but as a true investigative tool. We saw that on August 11, 2014, when a man walked into a Bank of America branch in Bedford, Massachusetts, claimed to have a gun, and demanded money.
The bank immediately supplied the Bedford Police Department — a JGPR client — with excellent surveillance photos. JGPR processed the photos and sent them out on Twitter, Facebook, and as email attachments with a quick press release sent to all local media.
The suspect was in custody just over two hours later. People recognized the suspect in the social media posts as someone who worked nearby. They called and messaged the Bedford Police, and officers closed in and arrested him without incident.
— Robert Mills (@Robert_Mills) August 11, 2014
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This is a case study in the importance of a detached, civilian public information officer. Even a well-organized department like Arlington, which has a Captain assigned to PIO duties, understands the need. What do you do when your PIO is also the OIC at a crime scene? He or she can’t just leave the scene to sit at their desk for a few hours and type up a press release.
We also fielded media calls for Arlington and scheduled interviews, which helped free up police officials to focus on the investigation.