At this stage of society’s development, law enforcement agencies and mass media are in close relations. At the same time, the police and other bodies are characterized by deliberate retention and concealment of information about emerging critical incidents. On the other hand, the primary purpose of media outlets is to spread knowledge about what happened to the public. Therefore, the study of the data of the two instances is of particular interest for research due to the different kinds of attitudes to information and data. In the course of the work, a case was cited that occurred in the Chicago police, which directly affected the interactions of law enforcement agencies and social media. Correct and timely response and disclosure of only the necessary information were the main reasons for the smooth flow of the incident. Further, the need to establish rules and strategies concerning the relations between the media and the departments representing the law is emphasized. This is because with excessive secrecy and unfriendliness, media sources can influence the formation of a negative public attitude towards law enforcement and the deterioration of their reputation.
Paragraph for the major paper assignment:
The problem of interaction between law enforcement and media is of significant relevance for research. The ways of police and fire departments for dealing with this part of the functioning of society should be based should take into account several aspects at once. Further, it is crucial to keep an open mind when conducting investigations of critical incidents while not spreading an excessive amount of information. Moreover, law enforcement should remember what a strong influence the media have on people’s opinions and how they can affect the decline in the respectability of this body. All these characteristics should be taken into account when developing strategies and policies that relate to interaction with media sources.
In the modern world, media sources, especially social networks, have become widespread and play an essential role in society. Like any other sphere of people’s lives, fire departments and the police function within the framework of this phenomenon and are in reasonably close connection with it. This is since in significant critical situations, these spheres tend to form long-lasting interaction problems. However, in addition to such positive aspects as spreading awareness of the problem and treating it as a measure to prevent the recurrence of incidents, there are negative points. This is because the legitimate forces and the media initially set different goals. Thus, information sources are aimed at obtaining data when law enforcement agencies are obliged to protect them. Thus, this scientific work aims to study the relationship between law enforcement and the media and provides information on what measures can be taken first to improve this relationship.
This work was based on an example from the past experience of interaction between law enforcement agencies and media sources. The analysis of such situations will help to gain an understanding of how these two instances should interact. Thus, there was an examined case that occurred with police departments in the state of Chicago. In this case, there was an incident in which one of the local policemen posted his bigoted views on his Facebook page. Initially, the policeman was accused of violating rules that “prohibit officers from making political statements while on duty”, but later other aspects arose (Cohen, 2018, para. 2). It is noted that “the officer made posts on social media calling for the murder of college students, defamatory statements against those participating in social programs, and stated that officers should not attempt to chase offenders” (Cohen, 2018, para. 14). The criticality of this case is given by the fact that social networks were directly involved in the incident. The danger of this fact is due to the fact that a sufficiently large amount of information was already in the public domain, which allowed media outlets to find them ahead of time.
It is worth noting that in the example under study, the police forces coped with media sources entirely well since, in real life, this story was balanced reasonably quickly. However, as for social networks, which are characterized by extensive coverage, public resonance has been maintained for a long time. This was predominantly since the accused openly and quite incorrectly expressed himself on topics such as race, verbal abuse, and generally inappropriate comments. Thus, the case with the police in Chicago showed that the problem of establishing and controlling the interaction of law enforcement and information outlets plays an important role.
Thus, it is further necessary to investigate the relationship between fire, police departments, and media sources. First of all, it is worth noting that these two aspects have quite a controversial relationship. The main goals of law enforcement and media are to serve the public, but both aspects perform this differently. Therefore, the former is aimed at ensuring the safety, equality, and freedoms of residents, while the latter is aimed at spreading information and representing such a human right as freedom of speech. Of particular importance in this matter are social networks, which have been surpassing magazines and newspapers in popularity for a long time. However, they are used not only by everyday inhabitants but, additionally, directly by representatives of the authorities and the law. Sources emphasize that “social media platforms are used by 91% of agencies to notify the public of safety concerns, by 89% for community outreach and citizen engagement, and by 86% for public relations and reputation management” (Cruz, 2020, para. 4). This widespread presence obliges the formation of policies for working with the media and controlling the information that gets there. This fact concerns such valuable data as evidence, evidence, or personal information of persons involved in the proceedings.
Media in the modern world can be both an effective tool for law enforcement and a way to worsen the reputation and image of this sphere of public life. First of all, it is essential to note that social networks in the era of technology development can significantly help the police in carrying out their functions. Thus, departments have the opportunity to interact with people and collect and analyze public opinion and trends within it. Moreover, with the help of media sources, law enforcement agencies can collect information about problems at the local level that are in their jurisdiction.
However, due to the strong intertwining of relations between the media and the public, the police may be subjected to the opposite effect. Consequently, with the help of social networks and individuals, a confident attitude towards various public and law enforcement agencies is formed (Walsh & O’Connor, 2019). Thus, in the case of the frequent mention of the police or fire department in a negative context, a person may have an undesirable attitude towards them. This will be expressed in negative comments and a decrease in the trust and respectability of law enforcement agencies. Moreover, the media can play against organizations for the protection of human rights and freedoms since all information that is transmitted through their use is subject to open records requests. Furthermore, all the information that exists on online platforms is put at risk.
To regulate the relationship between law enforcement agencies and the media and to limit the possibility of negative consequences, it is necessary to introduce several rules. Hence, to eliminate the possibility of misuse of data, it is crucial to develop strategies and instructions for collecting and archiving data that is transmitted through social networks and online sources. This step implies a guarantee of transparency, which at the same time will not disclose confidential information, such as evidence, evidence, or personal information of individuals.
Among the advantages that media sources provide, the speed of transmission of the necessary information stands out, especially in critical situations. These data include various kinds of warnings or alerts about an incident that is in the field of functioning of law enforcement agencies. Moreover, social networks provide an opportunity to acquire valuable and missing data that can help in the investigation of a particular trial or blunt. At the same time, the development of regulatory and legislative acts concerning data privacy has a serious role. It is impossible to allow unnecessary private data to be made public or for media workers to get direct access to them, as this may violate, first of all, the rights of individuals. Therefore, law enforcement agencies should clearly regulate this aspect and obtain consent to allow the dissemination of certain personal information.
In addition to the above measures, it is vital to establish a good reputation for law enforcement agencies with media outlets. This leads to open communication since excessive secrecy can only harm the image of the police and fire departments due to speculation about the information they have. Openness implies, as in the example given in the research paper, the provision of data on the trial process and the assigned punishment for the perpetrators of the incident. At the same time, there is no need to provide all the data and knowledge in total, but only limit it to the amount that does not disclose valuable details.
In conclusion, this work considered such an interesting aspect as the interaction of law enforcement agencies and the media. These spheres of society’s life in modern realities are in direct interaction, which has strengthened with the emergence and gaining popularity of social networks. As an example of past experience, the work considered the example of the Chicago Police Department, when one of the employees committed negative actions using a network such as Facebook. It was the consistency of the police’s decisions in relation to the problem that helped to avoid serious consequences. This fact proves the importance of developing rules and actions for the work of law enforcement agencies and the media, such as openness and simultaneous control of data confidentiality. In addition, these measures will help in establishing trusting and positive relationships between people and law enforcement agencies and may help in limiting critical incidents.
Cohen. J.S. (2018). Chicago cop under investigation again over social media posts. ProPublica.
Cruz, R. (2020). The power and danger of social media for law enforcement. GCN.
Walsh, J. P., & O’Connor, C. (2019). Social media and policing: A review of recent research. Sociology Compass, 13(1), 12648.