SFPD Chief Discusses Dept's Use of Facebook

Officers' Facebook updates were quickly read by Occupiers

By Zack Farmer
|  Tuesday, Jan 10, 2012  |  Updated 12:19 PM PDT
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SFPD Chief Discusses Dept's Use of Facebook

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr spoke about communication as he addressed law enforcement officials from around the state at the University of San Francisco this morning.

The 16th annual Law Enforcement Leadership Symposium, which began this morning and is set to conclude Tuesday, is focusing on emergency response and Suhr highlighted communication as a crucial role in this.

Suhr said he has been speaking with officers around San Francisco, looking for ways to help the department's communication.

"We're a group that talks to people," Suhr said of officers who joined the city's Police Department during the 1970s.

Part of the communication changes, Suhr said, has been the rise in popularity of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

During actions against Occupy SF, for example, officers updated their Facebook pages with information about the actions police were taking.

Occupiers found the information quickly and utilized it causing police to change their strategy, he said.

"(We want to) take their temperature on how (younger officers) can be successful," Suhr said.

Suhr also spoke about the way the department communicates with the public in regards to quick responses and information about crimes.

"When people are upset, it's about them," Suhr said. "If you come down from the ivory tower and you go out to those who are concerned, the biggest victory you can win is they can't say you didn't do it."

Suhr's keynote speech was interrupted at 8:50 a.m. when a fire alarm forced people to evacuate the McLaren Conference Center and the adjacent student dormitory.

People were allowed to reenter the building about ten minutes later.

San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen also spoke at the event.

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