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UPDATED: Someone gets it. Providing information to the public in real time during a critical incident. This is going on right now.

MD Howard County police

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Read more about @HCPDNews at Gerald Baron’s Crisis Comm blog

(Note: I’ve added additional Tweets since the original post. Scroll down.)

One of my big frustrations is watching public safety agencies failing to use the modern tools available to communicate with the public and press when the big one happens. Often when it hits the fan, agencies fail to provide the basic information that they can easily and instantly provide through social media. I’ve had tons of excuses why this happens. Let me show you an agency that has figured out how to get it done.

Just a little more than an hour prior to this being posted, a police officer in Howard County, Maryland was shot. I do not know the condition of the officer, but he or she is in our thoughts. A search for the suspect is underway. Howard County Police are about to have the first press conference at the scene, but look at the information they have been able to share through Twitter even before there was a confirmed shooting. This keeps the public informed and keeps your PIO(s) getting information out to the the press as a group rather than wasting prescious time on the phone during a breaking situation.

All times are approximate.

4:28 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews

Unconfirmed information about what is happening in the 9500 block of Washington Blvd. AS SOON as ANY info is confirmed, will update.

4:35 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews

Reports of possible shots fired in area.  Update expected from scene momentarily.

4:44 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews

One officer shot. being transported to shock trauma. PIO is en route.

4:45 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews

Officers responded to the 9500 block of Washington Boulevard for report of man with a gun. One officer shot in exchange. Suspect at large.

4:46 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews

Police searching for suspect. No additional information about suspect available yet.

5:00 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews

MEDIA: Updates re: the incident in the 9500 block of Washington Boulevard will be provided via Twitter and FB ONLY. PIO enroute to scene.

5:24 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews

MEDIA: Staging area; Parking lot of fire stn @RT.1 & Corridor Road. Take 32 to Rt. 1 S to Corridor Road. ***Press briefing at 5:45***.

5:29 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews

***ROAD CLOSURES** Rt.1 @gorman Road; Rt 1 @Freestate and [email protected] WhiskeyBottom

UPDATE: Tweets following initial post.

6:46 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews

@ashleydijon – Can only confirm that Shock Trauma reports to us he is in stable condition.

6:54 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews

NEWS RELEASE: #HoCoPolice officer shot, in stable condition, search under way for suspect. on.fb.me/Yc3xcs. Follow us for updates.

7:00 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews

CORRECTION: Officer is in serious condition. Previous tweet said stable. Apologies for the error.

7:01 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews

Officers received call around 4 p.m. in 9500 block of Washington Boulevard. Caller reported seeing a man w/ a gun.(cont)

7:02 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews

Officers confronted suspect who opened fire & fled into nearby wooded area. Search under way. Suspect:black male w/ black jacket, gray pants

7:05 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews

Thanks to all for the tweets of support and prayers for our #officershot. Please keep the officer and his family in your prayers.#HoCoPolice

7:24 PM: Howard County Police @HCPDNews

*** MEDIA** please be advised officer is in serious condition. Previous tweet said stable. Apologies for the error.

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