Bridging Local Societies’ Communication Gaps with Community Engagement
Community engagement is not a new concept, although the benefits to today’s society are a hot topic at the moment. Many communities feel isolated and out-of-touch with their local officials, and vice versa. Community engagement can be enhanced using many methods, some are simple and, some would say, old-fashioned, and some are high-tech but exceptionally effective. Effective community engagement mobilizes public safety resources, promotes a shared vision and serves as a catalyst for changing policies, programs and practices. When done correctly, the police and residents enter into a mutually beneficial partnership.
But how do you get that message out there? Whilst there is still a place in our society for local community meetings, in reaching large, diverse audiences and offering the opportunity for consultation and feedback, it makes sense to use the technology available today and be able to reach the majority of the local population instantly via their mobile devices. Through the use of community engagement technology, including social media and other two-way communications channels, police and other local authorities offer residents an open forum to encourage active participation and dialogue. This creates a force multiplier, allowing agencies to maximize their effectiveness, ultimately driving community policing, public safety and agency transparency.
True collaboration between local government, public safety, schools, businesses and residents is essential to the success of any community – and these connections need to be built on transparency, trust and mutual respect in order to be successful. Everbridge’s Community Engagement solution meets this need by helping to create a stronger and more engaged community – one that improves the communication reach and opt-in database for emergency personnel while providing residents with real-time community information and a forum to share and interact with neighbors and public officials.
Community engagement also empowers residents to invest in their community through outreach, collaboration and shared leadership. With the help of technology, neighbors share valuable information; work together to raise safety concerns, help find lost pets and organize other neighborhood activities. These day to day community connections assist in expanding the police force’s outreach during emergencies and other critical situations by increasing opt-ins, building a social media following and facilitating two-way conversations (both online and offline).
In times of austerity, increased security threats, and the everyday pressures on our public safety resources, members of the community need to be engaged and working alongside those agencies. To do this effectively, they need to be communicating.