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Should Cops Have Their Own Social Network?

By Betty Wang, JD on September 03, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Cops may be getting their own social network. Former New York City police commissioner and Los Angeles Police Chief Bill Bratton, most recently a high-profile Oakland police consultant, has created BlueLine, a social network exclusively for police officers, reports CBS. According to Bratton, BlueLine is a site officers can use to share tips, their expertise on certain issues, and post their insights and information. This social network would be accomplished securely through instant messaging, video conferencing, and screen share capabilities.

BlueLine is currently in its testing stages, and is being beta-tested among 100 officers working in Los Angeles County. The testers include officers from the LAPD, the LA County Sheriff's departments, and even the University of Southern California's campus police, reports CBS.

But is BlueLine a good idea or just another place to exchange gossip from last night's Policeman's Ball? Here are some factors to consider:

  • Centralized network.BlueLine could help bridge what is still a gap in the law enforcement sector. Officers from all around the country would be able to more easily locate their counterparts, interact with those officers in different counties or states, and share their local tips on investigative strategies and practices. This increased communication could lead to a lower crime rate.
  • Faster responses.Much like AMBER Alerts and crime mapping, a social network like BlueLine is another way that technology can be used to fight crime and to bolster public health and safety. As a social media outlet, BlueLine provides yet another network through which officers can issue crucial alerts. Having another central forum to notify police could mean faster responses.
  • Another forum for selfies? BlueLine might be the next Yelp for cops to exchange tips on the best donut shops around the country. Or, maybe, another forum for them to post selfies. In all seriousness, blurring the line between personal posts and professional ones is a potential issue that may hinder officers from effectively using BlueLine.
  • Possible lawsuits.Much like with any other social media outlet used for professional or business purposes, there are liability concerns. This ranges from issues of intellectual property, improper advertising, use of a member's private data, or even defamation.

Ready or not, Bratton states that BlueLine is scheduled to launch at the International Association of Police Chiefs' annual conference in Philadelphia, set to take place in October, reports CBS.

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