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Not Your Momma’s FaceBook

More information is shared via sites like Facebook and Twitter than one could ever hope to catch on the nightly news. I get more breaking news from Twitter than I do through any other media outlet. I won’t argue where on the scale of twisted-weird that is, but can’t help asking: shouldn’t the news do that?
In a previous article (“Facebook, Twitter and Blogs — Oh My!” Sept/Oct 2011), I talked about social networking and how to appropriately use it to your advantage. At that time, I was unaware of a new social networking site directed toward, and created solely for, police officers — CopBook.

CopBook isn’t the place for a status update telling the world you’re on vacation in the Poconos. Think of it as a virtual lineup or pass-down accessible at any given time. Most agencies will have lineup at the beginning of shift, or at least they’ll try to; that’s where you find out what happened during the previous shifts, and what’s hot now. But things can get left out.

Over a 10- to 12-hour shift, we’re bound to leave out seemingly inconsequential occurrences, or simply forget about them. They don’t go into the “lineup” book for the next shift, and important info might not be available to them. CopBook allows an officer to log in and document, in a no-nonsense way, pertinent information that maybe doesn’t rise to the level of requiring a police report.

You know that dope house everyone knows about? Perhaps Investigations is interested in the folks coming and going. Maybe someone wants to know what car Johnny Dirtbag is now driving. You could go old-school and write it down on a 3″x5″ card and pray you don’t lose it before your shift ends. Or you could upload the info to CopBook, directly into a previously created discussion group you made for this very purpose.

Redlands PD and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office are currently using CopBook. I spoke to Det. Jason Calvert, a 13-year veteran with the SBSO, about his experiences with CopBook. Calvert said there’s been “top-down encouragement” for the use of CopBook. Seems if there’s been any resistance to the new technology, it’s come from the street-level user, not administration.


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