Educating the public about police response during the COVID-19 pandemic

Agencies are using social media to keep citizens informed about modifications to calls for service and coronavirus safety precautions

As law enforcement agencies modify their response to calls for service to protect both officers and citizens from the spread of COVID-19, educating an already-nervous public is essential. Explaining why departments are emphasizing online reporting of specific crimes or outlining the PPE measures officers may take when on patrol will help maintain the public's trust and quell fears.   

Departments have a variety of social media platforms they can use to educate their communities. Here are six examples of COVID-19 response messaging in action.


"Social distancing. Introverts have been training for this for years and now is their time to shine at home, alone!" Taking a lighthearted tone, the Colorado State Patrol outlines what social distancing really means. 



Patrol Operations Bureau Manager Mike Lee and Deputy Villarreal detail some of the safety measures HCSO is taking to protect officers, from cleaning patrol vehicles to protective actions during traffic stops.  


MARSHFIELD Police department

Explaining acceptable social behavior in a time of national emergency is the mission of Police Chief Phil Tavares in this video, where he lists some of the reckless behaviors of a small minority of Marshfield citizens that are threatening the safety of all.


Chief Jami Resch details the proactive measures the Portland Police Bureau is taking to protect officers and community members, including telling the public when to submit online reports and why officers may need to limit face-to-face contact.


Salem Police Chief Jerry Moore delivers a reassuring message about how his department is using guidance from public health officials to minimize and reduce COVID-19 transmission.


Chief Eddie Garcia of the San Jose Police Department has posted a series of videos to show how his agency is committed to using social media to connect cops and citizens during this trying time. In the agency's latest post, Chief Garcia and Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen deliver a clear message that both the police department and the courts are still "open for business" and are prosecuting criminals, holding lawbreakers accountable and helping victims. 

How is your agency communicating operational changes in response to COVID-19? Email

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