First impressions are always the most important. A few years ago after a meeting with then Superintendent Peter Sloly at Scotland Yard, the assistant commissioner at the time told former British Crime Stoppers chief Michael Gordon-Gibson “that young man” will ascend to the top of his profession because he has a clarity of vision that the next generation of police leaders need to engage with the public.
He was right.
Now deputy chief of Canada’s largest police service, Sloly was recognized with a major law enforcement award last week.
He won the “Top Cop” honour for his social media leadership. The award is presented to the law enforcement executive who is a risk-taker and pioneer in the promotion and use of social media in policing.
It was presented at the eighth Social media, the Internet & Law Enforcement (SMILE) conference in Omaha, Nebraska.
Just over three years after being turned on to social media, Sloly is a global law enforcement leader in creating, sharing and exchanging information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.
“There are two main reasons why I so passionately pursued a social media strategy for our organization,” he said. “First, front-line officers inspired me by their understanding of the need to reach out to challenged youth in both the real world and the online digital and social media worlds. Second, the community was already using social media in every part of their lives, including education, relationships, business and activism. I was being inspired and pushed from the bottom up by officers like Scott Mills and from the outside by community members like Paisley Rae.
“It was clear that policing needed to develop both individual and corporate level social media competency to be effective. Social media isn’t just another corporate communications medium. It’s core to everything that we do, including community policing, crime prevention, order management, emergency response, law enforcement, assisting victims and supporting prosecutions.
“What I love most about it though is how much more it allows police officer like me to reach out to and engage directly with members of the community. Social media will never replace traditional policing methods, but it will enhance all aspects of it.”
LAWs Communications established the SMILE conference and the awards.
“When I ask myself what police executive has contributed the most to the progress of social media in policing, it’s without doubt deputy chief Peter Sloly,” said LAWs Communications principal, Lauri Stevens. “He was years ahead of just about any other police leader anywhere and more importantly he has a true understanding of the depth of what can be achieved with social media like no other leader, even today. He’s a risk-taker to be sure, but he leads by doing and with strong governance.”
Dale Stockton, one of the awards judges, said Sloly was clearly the frontrunner in the “Top Cop” category.
“Peter’s actions demonstrate both a leader and facilitator who empowers and provides a living example of getting it done,” said Stockton who is the editor-in-chief of Law Officer Magazine and LawOfficer.com. “Clearly, he walks the talk of social media leadership. He has truly set the bar very, very high. He also engages with a frequency that’s staggering and he has demonstrated a strong sense of responsibility in terms of follow-up.”
A former Canadian national team soccer player, Sloly is in charge of the Toronto Police Service’s divisional police command that includes the 17 police divisions.