Public Relations: Cops, Cameras & Community Risk

The future of law enforcement is online and on-the-line as citizen video devices expose U.S. communities to significant liability. Cameras are everywhere and police officer conduct is on display, creating more than just a public relations problem (see CNN’s recap of the Michael Brown story and get your calculator out to add up the costs). Literally billions of dollars are at risk for taxpayers, businesses and governments. Lawsuits, riots and paying for associated costs are real risks to U.S. communities from Milwaukee to Miami.   Body cameras proposed to protect citizens—ironically—may also provide police public relations and legal protection too. Individual mobile devices and the ease of editing citizen videos present potential peril for police officers. Perception is formed in an instant with viral video snippets. (See how Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn is portrayed by media differently with Gawker on the left and Glenn Beck’s Blaze on the right and hundreds of comments on Reddit when he shows heated, emotional response to crime in Milwaukee.) Without a counter to a video, police run the risk of being portrayed inaccurately. The impact of police perception, as we’ve seen in New York City, Ferguson, Missouri, Chicago and many other cities impacts far more than the officers in the lens. At the very least, body cameras placed on police officers will allow video to tell their side of the story, rather than depend on by-standers video. By-standers may have captured only one aspect of a particular engagement. Circumstances leading up to a particular action might add perspective that shifts perception. Perceptions by various stakeholders, activists and government agencies at the local, state and federal ...

Government Affairs

Karl James led a campaign to publicly expose shortcomings of actions designed to create  a favorable environment for a few while adversely impacting many. Direct mail, social media, and public relations efforts generated standing-room only participation in the public meetings discussing tax incremental financing or TIF. View one of our direct mail creative pieces here. Municipal Direct ...