PR: We’re on the Job

April 23, 2009

It was inevitable that something like this would happen: The Washington D.C. police department has hired a public relations firm.

police_pr_logo_c-c2Now you’re probably thinking this is for damage control purposes, but you’d be wrong! It’s about building bridges between the police and the people of D.C.:

At a time when crime in the District has fallen, [Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier] wants to lift the profile of individual officers and has turned to a public relations firm for help, hoping that good press will engender more trust with the community.

Lanier’s decision to seek outside assistance in communicating with the public is the latest example in the District and across the country of a shift in policing, from shielding the public from crime news to finding the best way to package it to them.

Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, said once-tight-lipped police agencies, not wanting to scare the public with too much crime information, now understand the power of that information to connect them with residents.

“There was a time in policing when you were really careful and reluctant to give too much information to the public. That’s really turned on its head,” Wexler said. “So today the question is: How do you put that information in a form that’s most useful?”

The article also mentions a Florida police department that is looking to “create a brand” to sell the product of “public safety.”

Enter the PR pros! Pitch your local PD today!

PR pro Chris Ryan seemingly is making a living of it, although he seems to be exclusively focused on damage control.

Posted by Joe Paone