BWCs and Crisis Communication

Developing a Crisis Communication Plan: 5 Important Strategies




Laura McElroy, Communication Strategist, McElroy Media Group (2019) 

High-profile critical incidents and crises threatening the safety, integrity, reputation, and standing of a law enforcement agency typically generate intense public scrutiny of a department. How department leaders respond to the community during these difficult times can affect public trust and, ultimately, support for the agency. This makes crisis communication and proactive outreach an integral part of its operations; however, this aspect is often overlooked. Law enforcement agencies devise operational plans and train for almost all eventualities, but can often overlook crisis communication planning, which can greatly affect its relationship with the community and local media and leave the department without a plan and with limited training. Establishing a plan and practicing it with smaller scale incidents, such as a significant traffic event or a crime scene affecting commuters, is the first step toward managing the department’s messaging during a significant event. This article will look at five important strategies that should be part of any agency’s crisis communication plan.

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