Toronto Police Services early adopters of Social Media

Lynn Jeffries    October 4, 2015

Organization Name: Toronto Police Services (TPS)

Industry: Law Enforcement


Name of contact: Meaghan Gray, Social Media Relations Officer

Web references: Website  Social Media Contacts WikipediaFacebook Twitter YouTube Channel and hundreds of other web resources.

In July, 2011 Toronto Police Services was one of the first law enforcement agencies to officially use social media with select staff receiving social media training.

At their launch there were a handful of trained staff but today they have over 300 staff who can ‘self-select’ for training based on their sphere of influence. Training allows staff to use a TPS account and not their personal social media account.

TPS “Serves and Protects” a city with over 6 million people in one of the most diverse cities in the world. Trained staff cover 17 divisions across the city along with 23 specialized units. You can view key social media contacts here. TPS Social Media Contacts

The general guidelines to post content in social space is based on the organizations core values:  Honesty, Respect, Teamwork , Integrity, Reliability, Fairness and a Positive Attitude.


Connect with Toronto Police Services Head Office:


By having such a strong social media presence this allows the organization to support their colleagues, provide valuable community outreach along with adding a human touch to law enforcement.

One TPS staff (PC Luke Watson) recently received international attention.

Luke Wilson

PC Luke Watson went to twitter to raise awareness to bullying and homophobia with #dayofpink,#stopbullyingnow and #pinkhair.

The International Day of Pink originated in Nova Scotia in 2007 when two high school students stood up for their gay peer who was being bullied for wearing a pink shirt. Now, it is a Canadian anti-bullying and LGBT awareness event held annually on the second Wednesday of April.

He tweeted he would dye his hair pink if he received over 500 retweets.  The officers’ tweets received worldwide recognition, from Australia, Ireland, and the Philippines, to Syria, Nigeria, Mexico, and the United States.In less than a few hours he had reached his goal, then tweeted he would keep his hair pink for a week if he received over 1000 retweets. He received over 5000 retweets and his story and awareness to bullying and homophobia were picked up globally

Toronto Officer dyes hair pink to raise awareness to bullying and homophobia

Lessons for others:

  1. Do not allow an over-sensitivity to risk assessment to derail the process of developing social media . There will always be individuals in any organization who focus on the potential pitfalls of a new technology or process. Police Leaders should focus on the potential rewards of using social media and then work to mitigate risks.
  2. Keep your policy clear and the language simple . As with the creation of other types of policy, it was vital to TPS to involve all relevant stakeholders in the creation of its social media strategy. Model policies are helpful starting points, but TPS stressed that customization is important. Policy-makers should ensure that use of social media complies with local, provincial and federal laws, as well as with the user agreements of the social media providers.
  3. Identify the right people to use social media . Police agencies should carefully consider whom they want to empower to take visible public roles for the organization. Not everyone is a “natural” at speaking and writing clearly, with sensitivity to political and social issues and other considerations. However, training can help many people improve their skills in this area. If you choose the right people, they will view social media as an integral part of their position, not as a time-consuming add on to existing duties.

Submitted By: Lynn

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