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Delivering Culturally Competent and Equitable Police Services Via Social Media: Assessing Two Way Dialogue between Police Agencies and Vulnerable Citizens

Barbara Patrick & Aaron C. Rollins
PAQ, Vol. 46 No. 1, 1-22 (2022)

Social media is quickly becoming one of the most important media outlets for police departments; it provides them with the opportunity to engage in two-way dialogue with citizens. This direct line of communication can help build trust and legitimacy among racial minorities and other vulnerable groups with whom relationships are strained. However, little is known about the presence of cultural competency, legitimacy and social equity content in these exchanges. This research assesses these issues through an examination of Facebook interactive exchanges between citizens and police departments. The results reveal two key findings. First, vulnerable citizensí comments and questions are more likely to raise concerns about agencies commitment to delivering culturally competent and socially equitable services. Next, agencies ignore, or rarely respond to, inquiries raising cultural and equity concerns. These findings highlight the need for future exploration of the use of social media accounts by police departments.
Key Words: Cultural competence; Legitimacy; Social equity; Police agencies; Racial minorities; Social media; Facebook; Racism

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