Monday, September 5, 2011

This is the New Sheriff

So...a few people have asked who it is that will be taking over the accounts?
Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or this blog and the next generation of social media that the Toronto Police choose to use...or more correctly, the ones that you tell us by your presence, which ones we should use.

There really was only one logical choice all along.  He was my partner for more than a year, so I knew he had the understanding of not only what I was doing on the social streams, but he gets how traffic works.  Those two were important.  He's made many suggestions for what I should say and post.  (Usually when I wanted to say something really bold.  He would talk me off the ledge and make a much better suggestions).

Everyone in the media is accustomed to him so it won't be a shock or a learning curve for you either.

Ladies and gentlemen please give a really warm welcome to Police Constable Hugh Smith!!

Surprise!!! Why go looking for someone when the best is right beside you.

Hugh will have some help though.  With the training that has been happening within the Toronto Police Service, Traffic Services has some people trained in the use of the tools.  More Tweeters are coming and help with this blog and the fan page are just around the corner.

But for now...please say "Hi" and give Hugh a BIG warm welcome...(I've changed the settings so he will get everyone of these so let him know you are looking forward to his tweets).   I'm off for a week (my therapy session for letting this go) so he won't be able to yell at me. LOL!!

There will be an adjustment period.  Hugh will do a great job.  Give him a little time and a little patience.

So, I'm moving full time to the @TorontoPolice account on Twitter and the Facebook Fan page there as well.

I will be more active on my personal account, but there still wont be anything Toronto Police related. Some traffic safety information and general police info will get in there but it's by no means a police account.

In closing...Thanks for the memories!

Friday, September 2, 2011

There's a New Sheriff in Town

How do I start this post...I knew this day would come.  In fact, I've been planing it out for the last few months. 

"And now, the end is near, 
And so I face the final curtain.
My friends, I'll say it clear; 
I'll state my case of which I'm certain."

On January 15, 2009 at 12:33pm I activated my first Traffic Services social media platform; Twitter account @TrafficServices.  After that, I created pages, groups, profiles, channels, identities and this blog.

The reason?  To "Reduce collisions, injuries and death in Toronto".  I was trying to raise the awareness of traffic safety issues that could lead to better respect for road users with each other.  I was hoping that the information I could share would help our Toronto road users understand each other's perspective a little better. I wanted the public to be more aware of the laws, enforcement practices, decisions that would make each individual road user safer.

So a few thousand tweets, some videos, posts, updates, links, later...I am at the final curtain. (There has always been a music tone to my interactions...I'm not going to stop now!)

I have pushed a simple statement everywhere I could, "Road safety is every one's responsibility...and it starts with you."  And while I've pushed that, an incredible thing happened.  You pulled it in, shared it, pushed questions back and we formed some great relationships through all this social media 'stuff'.

I can honestly say, I've learned more from you than you learned from me!

Through it all, you built a "traffic brand".  Some of you know I  left Traffic Services a few months back to work out of the Toronto Police Headquarters Unit of Corporate Communications, but I have continued to populate the Traffic Services information streams.

I figured when the day came I would be leaving traffic, I would just change the name on my accounts and take them with me.  But, after seeing what you have done and how you have interacted and talked about traffic, shared our safety principals, I couldn't just take that away.  These are all your accounts...not mine.

"Regrets? I've had a few,
But then again, too few to mention.
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption. "

When I made mistakes you forgave me.  When I got too busy with all my other duties, you were patient.

So, in return for your loyalty and dedication, I will leave you in great hands! 

A replacement has been identified and trained.  My replacement has been told about many of you and how important you are to what has been created.  I could never turn over the passwords over to just anyone...which is in part why it took a few months for this day to officially come.  It had to be the right person.

In a couple of days, you will all know, but for now, just know, you will be in great hands.

I have to thank a few people and I do this at the risk of not thanking everyone that should be mentioned.  Please don't be offended if you aren't thanked.  Know that you are all thought very highly of and my replacement has a list of key people and organizations that have helped so much.

@TVGurl - What can I say to the person who started it all?  I am in your debt for what you did for me!
@AmberMac - Hey Coach!! Your patience was incredible and your teachings so valuable.
@KrisReyes - All the key people to tied me into launched my understanding of the "government" end of this.
@Unmarketing - Your friendly slaps upside my head when you saw what others didn't were very appreciated.
@DeputySloly - You planted the seed to try new things, be courageous and to take the Toronto Police Service where it had never been.
@ChristaMMiller / @Cops2Point0 - The first law enforcement resource I found.  Your direction helped so much.
@808Cop_Retired - You sir are class...pure class! 
@GaryV - Thanks for your time in Toronto.  It's not over! The best is yet to come and the standing offer is always there, so let me know and we'll meet at our usual location ;)
@MrsMeaghanGray - Thanks for your guidance, level minded approach and understanding to learn all about this. By the way, "I've been thinking about trying something" No, seriously, I am...not kidding. See you after my holidays, we'll talk!

Every boss and supervisor that I have worked for and with over the last three years.  Huge thanks!!

Every person that took the time to say 'Hi', ask a question, point out some great information, like a post, favourite a video, share...There would be nothing without all of you - THANK YOU ALL!

Most importantly...@CarrieBurrows and the "3Bs".  You put up with so much.  You let me run with this and never complained about the trips away, the late night computer glow, the phone calls or the interviews.  I will never be able to return to you everything you sacrificed...but it's going to be great trying!!

"For what is a man what has he got
If not himself then he has not
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it..."

Watch for the introduction of the new face coming soon!!

Oh, by the way...this isn't the end, I'm just moving over fully to the Toronto Police streams.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Born to Ride....Victoriously

Well, I figure I better continue about day 3 and 4 at the Great Lakes Police Motorcycle Competition to follow up the last blog post.

Day 3 was more of the basics.

Look and steer where you want to go.  I still found myself every once and a while looking at the obstacles that I was trying to avoid and sure enough I would hit them. 

When riding a motorcycle or a bicycle, driving a car or even just while walking, you need to look where you want to go.  In my time a s a police officer working traffic I used to be amazed when I would roll up on a collision scene where a single motor vehicle hit a pole or a tree or even a parked car.  To the right or left of the collision scene would be wide open space, but the vehicle would hit the only object around.

The reason is pretty obvious.  The operator was looking directly at the object even though that is what they were trying to avoid.  In some ways, this is natural.  The object represents the threat and therefore we fixate on it.  Turn your eyes to the open space and steer towards the space...not the object.

When you walk through a door way, you don't look at the jams on each look and walk through the open space.

Back to the training seminar....When I would use the proper riding principals, brake, steer, accelerate, shift gears, look, use proper seating position all to their optimum I never had a problem.

By the end of day three, I was feeling confident and ready to compete the next day!

Day 4.

Fantastic!!! I went into the competition hoping to be competitive and ride to the best of my ability.  I gave up a few years ago when I left the motor unit of ever challenging for top riding honours.

Looking at the cone...guess what I hit
I took all the basics and put them together at the right time to be competitive.  If it wasn't for using the basics and reminding myself, "Do the simple things right", I might have had a bad day, but because I focused on the basics, I actually came off looking like I knew what I was doing.

Most importantly, the team of five Toronto Police Officer that attended the event all concentrated on the basics and we won the Team Competition.  Here is the break down of it all.

For the published version of the following article, click here.
(From the Toronto Police Web Story)

Born to Ride...Victoriously
Motorcycle riding is a skill you never lose – just as long as you’re up to speed with the latest training techniques.

The Toronto Police Service proved just that, as their five-member team, all of whom no longer perform regular bike duties, captured the individual and team titles at the recent Great Lakes Police Motorcycle Training Seminar in Cambridge, Ontario.

A total of 70 riders, from police services across the continent, took part in the four-day event designed to challenge officers on various theoretical and practical information and to improve their riding skills.

The training courses mirror real-life events and obstacles that police motorcycle officers could be faced with on the job.

For the second time in the event’s 13-year history, S/Sgt Andy Norrie won the individual award. He was also second in the challenge ride, third in the slow ride and fourth in the smart-ride competitions.

“I am pleased to achieve an individual award, but I am more thrilled that the TPS contingent won first place in the team event,” he said.

“This achievement continues to demonstrate that the TPS is a world leader in policing and the vital role that teamwork plays in our success.”

The rest of the team was made up of Sgts. Tim Burrows and Don White, Const. Pekka Jokiniemi and Auxiliary officer Mark Webber.

Jokiniemi, who works out of the Transit Patrol Unit, won the expert division non-fairing skills competition while Burrows came out on top in the challenge and partner-ride events. He also came in second in the last rider standing contest and fourth and fifth in smart and slow-ride competitions.

White finished fourth in the challenge ride and fifth in the fairing skills (expert division) competition.

For a complete run down of how all the competitors did, click this link

For more on the event there are some great YouTube vids...use 2011 GLPMTS or GLPMTS as your search term.