During an incident or planned event, coordinated and timely communication is critical to effectively help the community. Effective and accurate communication can save lives and property, informs the citizens how to avoid traffic disruptions or the location of emergency shelters and of public awareness campaigns, and helps to ensure credibility and public trust.
The Public Information Officer [PIO] is responsible for communicating with the public, media outlets and/or coordinating with other agencies, as necessary, with incident related information requirements. The PIO is responsible for developing and releasing information about the incident to the news media to include print and television, incident personnel and other appropriate agencies and organizations.
Public information planning allows for lifesaving measures such as evacuation routes, alert systems and other public safety information. Public education contributes to preparing the citizens to respond to a variety of hazards. Education is the process of making the public aware of risks and how they can prepare for an event or hazard in advance.
The Saco Police Department accomplishes this through media releases provided to local newspapers and television news stations and postings on the police department Face book page. Examples of public education campaigns include:
Regular communication reassures the public that government agencies are working together to resolve the situation and provide assistance to those who need it.
- Upcoming community events [Drug take back events]
- Hurricane or winter storm preparedness
- Informational notices [computer phishing scam alerts]
- Police activity press releases
Deputy Chief Jeffrey Holland acts as Public Information Officer for cases coming under the responsibility of the criminal investigation division unless assumed by a higher command and he can be contacted at 282-8216 or his email address of email@example.com.