Last year, several auditor groups made roughly 400 recommendations to the Denver Sheriff Department in an effort to help improve the department’s damaged image; one of those recommendations asked the embattled department to engage more in social media.
“The role of social media is new and it takes a lot of time,” said Denver Sheriff Patrick Firman, who admits social networking sites or apps are vital for his department.
“The public understands what a police officer [does], [but] they don’t understand what a deputy does within the jail,” said Firman.
The recommendations were made by a group that audited the Sheriff's department last year at the request of Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.
Since then, the sheriff’s office hired WIDEFOC.US and is paying the company about $40,000 a year to post content on their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages. The sheriff said the price the department is paying the company costs less than hiring a full time social media manager.
The new push to post more is an opportunity to the public a look at what goes on behind bars, including informing the public about how they plan to tackle issues like inmates with mental health, which is 26 percent of the Denver Jail's population.