IACP/Flock Safety Leadership in Public Information Management Award
The IACP/Flock Safety Leadership in Public Information Management Award recognizes the accomplishments of an individual public information officer and his or her ability to effectively disseminate information to the public
Special consideration will be given to nominees who demonstrate innovative use of social media and successful informative management during a critical incident. All sworn and civilian public information officers are eligible for this award.
For further information, contact awards@theIACP.org.
Grapevine Police Department
Grapevine Police Department's Media Manager, Amanda McNew, was hired during the transition from a sworn position of Public Information Officer (PIO) to a civilian PIO. Mrs. McNew quickly identified areas of improvement, including changes to social media posts, a new delivery style for news releases, the development of a crisis communications plan, and the creation of a network of neighboring PIOs to call for aid during a critical incident. With the canceling of in-person events due to COVID-19, Mrs. McNew developed ways to maintain a strong relationship with the community. She created a music video featuring a police officer singing "What a Wonderful World" over images of the city, she arranged another video with officers saying "thank you" to medical personnel and first responders, and she helped plan and execute an alternative National Night Out To-Go, featuring a drive-thru parade. Media Manager Amanda McNew is always looking at ways to improve communication in the future, including the expansion of alternative text on social media photos and proactively seeking to post critical information in both English and Spanish. Her belief that everyone deserves access to information has enhanced the department's reputation as trustworthy and forthcoming.
Public Relations Director
Nebraska State Patrol
Since 2017, Public Relations Director Cody Thomas has single-handedly revamped the Nebraska State Patrol’s (NSP) communications with the media and the community through several innovative efforts. His proactive strategy involves tracking sentiment scores for media stories and social media, increasing media releases, increasing photo/video opportunities, and highlighting NSP involvement in community activities. However, Director Thomas’ most impressive initiative comes from his work on social media. Through a vast team of social media contributors, Director Thomas has generated creative posts that work to highlight NSP’s personality, community connection, diverse workforce, and provide an outlet for serious public safety information as well as light-hearted posts. One example includes the efforts that showed NS troopers working to save lives and property throughout the March 2019 blizzards and flooding; another example showed a humorous clip of troopers making a traffic stop of a vehicle made entirely of snow. Hailed by the department for his ability to humanize the troopers and effectively handle critical incidences such as line of duty deaths and critical incidences, Director Thomas has made a significant impact on the NSP.
Media Relations Coordinator & Public Information Officer
North Richland Hills, Texas, Police Department
In 2017, the North Richland Hills Police Department selected Carissa Katekaru to fill the newly formed media coordinator position. She has since addressed the agency’s communication challenges and formulated a new and innovative approach to communication by blending both traditional and social media strategies. Ms. Katekaru took several strategic steps to build important traditional and social media networks, showing all aspects of local law enforcement. Fundamental to this change was presenting information quickly, accurately, and in a unbiased way. Aside from up-to-the-minute reports on community incidents and interest pieces, Ms. Katekaru artfully crafted several media stories showing police officers as real people. One video in particular, “The Sound of Silence,” achieved over two million views on YouTube and was featured by national media.
Arlington, Texas, Police Department
Lieutenant Christopher Cook of the Arlington, Texas, Police Department, he has overseen the public information office at the Arlington Police Department since 2011 leading to significant increases in social media presence and traction. During a critical incident over Thanksgiving weekend in 2017, an Arlington Police Department Officer shot and wounded a theft suspect in a crowded mall. Due to the gravity and public nature of the incident, misinformation spread quickly. Lieutenant Cook maintained professionalism including promptly responding to media inquiries, understanding the community and internal city concerns, and developing a strategy to ensure accurate information was being released. Additionally, he remained sensitive to all parties involved, showing emotional intelligence when faced with complex issues and understanding of the importance of transparency. Lieutenant Cook’s ability to manage critical incidents in a professional manner was vital to the Arlington Police Department’s success during this critical incident.