The fact that the mid-sized metropolitan police agency is planning to have an addition of 25 patrol officers in the next two years is quality prove that the region in which it is located is growing and thus, there is need for streamlined security provision. The primary responsibility of a public information officer (PIO) is to perform public relations work that is necessary to cultivate a favorable public image for the mid-sized metropolitan police agency in working with the news media to enhance the communication of the goals, objectives, short and long term priorities of the agency. The goals in this case include building a sustainable communication organizational framework; expanding the agency’s reach to the internal and external stakeholders and creating proactive techniques of how communication will be carried out within and outside the agency. Nevertheless, in order to accomplish and achieve these goals, the PIO will be required to prepare a communication plan, which outlines how the communication process will be carried out within and outside the agency.
According to Scott (2015) a communication plan is an approach that offers stakeholders with information concerning the activities being carried out by the organization. As a plan, it defines the individuals that should receive specific information; at what time and the channels of communication that will be utilized to deliver the said information. In this regard, an effective communications plan help anticipate the information that needs to be communicated to a given audience segment and by who. In other words, the communication plan defines the individuals that have authority to communicate sensitive or confidential information and the channels that should be utilized at the moment; for instance, web sites, email, social media, printed reports or even presentations done in conferences. Moreover, the communication plan stipulates the channels through which the stakeholders should utilize to offer feedback and ways through which communication documentation should be archived as part of the agency’s records.
With this understand, it will be easy to elaborate the genre of communication that will be utilized to communicate the addition of 25 patrol officers in the next two years to the public, which is concerned with the extra taxes that they are expected to pay in order to cater for the additional costs. Even though it is true that the additional 25 patrol officers will mean extra cost for the tax payers in the metropolitan area, it is crucial to help them understand that the addition is a quality indication that the region is expanding economically, which means that there are more resources that need to be protected. On the same note, it is normal for areas that are regarded as fast growing to record high rates of crime, as such, it is justified to have the additional 25 patrol officers. Inherently, since the 25 patrol officers will be added in the next two years, it is appropriate to note the by then the budget for the agency will have increased, because it will already be prepared to handle the extra cost; the notion is that the agency’s budget will increase in bits and by the time the extra cost are incurred, the agency will not feel the pressure of having to pay the additional 25 patrol officers, and this will also translate to the tax payers. In this regard, the viable mode of communication that is appropriate to communicate these adjustments to the concerned public will be through press release by the agency. The press release is an official statement that is directed to the news media with the intent of giving information on a specific matter. In this case, the matter at hand is the addition of 25 patrol officers in the next 2 years in the mid-sized metropolitan police agency and the impact it will have on tax payers. The advantage of a press release is that it have the ability to grab the attention of the target audience and lead them towards a specific message that concerns them. In this case the target audience is the public of the metropolitan area as well as the internal stakeholders of the agency, who need to be prepared to accommodate more colleagues, which implies that there will be some changes within the agency. As such, the press release will clearly stipulate the reasons for the addition of 25 patrol officers and urge the public to appreciate the idea, because even though it will have an impact on their taxes, it is not something that will have immediate effects, rather it will something they will be in a position to plan for in the next two years. Among the advantages is the creation of 25 new jobs to the new patrol officers, most of whom will comprise of individuals from the metropolitan area, and enhanced levels of security.
With the departmental growth, there will be need for the adoption of a most efficient and cost effective channel of communication; this aligns with the fact that the agency needs to maintain low costs, especially with the increased public concern of increase in taxes by taxpayers due to the planned addition of 25 patrol officers. Cutting on costs is a priority in the department and the only way through which it will achieve the increased demand for communication is through utilization of social media, Facebook and Twitter. These are the two most efficient social media channels that will guarantee cost effectiveness at the agency. Kwon, Park and Kim (2014) assert that Facebook and Twitter are the most successful channels of social media in the provision of networking services. The notion is that the two social media channels enhance the connection and sharing of information based on their wide coverage and the fact that they are very affordable. Therefore, as an agency that seeks to grow and at the same time cut on its costs, the use of Facebook and Twitter is expected to grow.
In relation to how far ahead of the mentioned positions being hired that the message would be relay is as soon as possible and as aforementioned through press release. Timing matters in press release, because one needs to determine the kind of coverage that the message will receive after it has been released to the public. As such, it is crucial to plan ahead and determine on what event the coverage will be high to ensure that the message is well received; for instance while reporting about the achievements that agency has made over the year, it will be appropriate to announce what it is planning in the coming years and how it will be beneficial to the public. That is, what the community will benefit from following the addition of the patrol officers as well as ways through which the intended costs will be covered; such as the increase in the level of taxes.
As with other developments and change implementation, it is expected that some citizens will not accept the idea of increase in the number of patrol officers owing to the effect that it will have on their tax rates. In this regard, it will be crucial for the agency to create a site on which it will be a position to engage on one-on-one communication with the public. A good site is opening a Facebook account, which is easily accessible by the citizen and on which the agency will be in a position to engage in effective discussions with the public, responding to their inquiries, including those that relate with the extra taxes that will emanate from the hiring of additional patrol officers. It is on this site that the public will receive first hand information on the plans of the agency and most especially the reasons for the expansion, which will also align with the economic growth that the metropolitan is making as well as the increase in the population, which must demand the need for more officers to heighten the security levels of this growing population.
The stakeholders in the public notice will comprise of the metropolitan leaders, who are well informed of the need to hire additional patrol officers, the general public, the agency’s workers, and the institutions operating in the metropolitan area, who will feel the impact of the additional officers, or rather the growth that the agency is making. However, while communicating, the PIO will consider the specific stakeholders that are the recipients of the message and thereby decide the most appropriate channel of communication that best suits the said audience. The idea is that the stakeholders whether internal or external determine the type of communication channel that will be utilized in the communication process and this also depends on whether the message is sensitive and confidential or it can also be accessed by other stakeholders other than the intended ones. There are differing concerns of internal communication versus external communication on this issue; the reason is that whereas, the internal concerns focuses on the positions that the new patrol officers will fill based on the departments in which they are assigned. As such, there will be communication on ways through which these departments will incorporate the new officers and who will be responsible for them. On the other hand, the external communication concerns focuses on the issue of increase in taxes, which will affect the public, as such, it will be vital that clear communication is made explaining the reasons and benefits associated with the hiring of additional patrol officers. The reason is that internal communication concerns focuses on the internal stakeholders, whereas the external one focuses on the external stakeholders, most especially the general public.
Since the notification will mature in two years, when the 25 additional patrol officers will join the agency, it is only appropriate that the follow up be done on quarterly basis. The reason is that on every quarter, the agency is expected to hold a press release that explains on their achievements and the plans that they have for the next quarter; as making the notification on a quarterly basis will be an effective way to keep the plan on motion as well as act as a reminder to the general public on the plans of the agency.
Kwon, S. J., Park, E., & Kim, K. J. (2014). What drives successful social networking services? A comparative analysis of user acceptance of Facebook and Twitter. The Social Science Journal, 51(4), 534-544.
Scott, D. M. (2015). The new rules of marketing and PR: How to use social media, online video, mobile applications, blogs, news releases, and viral marketing to reach buyers directly. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
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