Among the greatest pressures weighing on law enforcement leadership today is one that barely even registered on the radar just a few decades ago—the threat of negative public relations. And for good reason. The mishandling of a public relations (PR) crisis puts an agency’s personnel and reputation in the spotlight for the wrong reasons and can harm the reputations or careers of associated elected officials as well. Even in the face of today’s increasingly hot-tempered social media environment and the intense, often critical traditional media coverage of law enforcement, some agencies still choose to hide and hope, thinking it might be a safer or easier option to hide from the potentially reputation-damaging threat and hope no one will find out about it. In an era where transparency is increasingly becoming the rule, rather than the exception, consider the potential outcomes to being on the receiving end of a PR nightmare.

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