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Building a Positive Command Center

Presentation for National Institute of Corrections
by

R Clemens

on 26 March 2015

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Transcript of Building a Positive Command Center

DOCs are understandably cautious about sharing information about sensitive issues
Yet the public can't appreciate -- and support -- the good work we do if they don't know anything about it.
Building a Positive Command Center
So, Let's Build a Positive Command Center!

First, you'll need a different toolbox
In the Incident Command Center,
news releases
,
tweets
and
press conferences
work well.
Those tools don't work as well in the Positive Command Center, where
[we]
-- not the offenders -- have to establish the narrative
Choose a topic that's

and
.
Use data to show

rather than

which have more news value
Use milestones, anniversaries and national stories as news pegs
The public can't truly appreciate our success if they don't understand what we had to overcome
It's our
[challenges]
that make our successes newsworthy
Always be sure to clearly explain how the strategy, initiative or program supports our agency's mission.

Choose topics that will eventually come up after a high-profile incident
We don't necessarily have to have data showing progress
sometimes the goal is to show that we're

to talk about serious issues will help the

the inherently difficult work our agency does
It's better to discuss these serious issues in advance, when

get to choose the time and location
During press tours, we need to provide reporters and photographers with


so they can tell the story


the need for security inside a prison, but if our security practices are excessive it will create a distraction
Offenders will

be our most

.
Prepare them like
we do our staff.
Rather than sending a
news release

or a
tweet,

invite
a select group of reporters out for a tour or ride-along --
-- and then use social media to the positive coverage.
That's
[Our]
Responsibility
A Positive Command Center requires a different way of thinking and a lot of effort.
But if we do it
[right]
,
it makes incidents much easier to manage...
And tells our
[complete]
story
Which is important, because it's not the news media's responsibility to tell the public about the

we make--
People are inherently fascinated about corrections-- it's why we're featured in books, TV shows and movies
And the more serious issues we deal with are the ones that have the most new value.
We all have Incident Command Centers, but how many of us have
Notes
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Meeting Notes
DOCs are engineered to respond to and manage incidents -- and we do that
[really]
well
We have policies, procedures and manuals that tell us
[exactly]
what to do when something goes wrong

But we don't have
[anything]
that tells us what to do when something goes right
We must be able to operate in
[both]
if we're to be successful Communication Directors
If we can't effectively communicate during an incident then we've made our agency vulnerable to negative press coverage.
Our agencies aren't
[designed]
to tell stories --
so it's up to us
to make that happen
But if
[all]
we do is communicate during incidents then we've allowed the offenders to define our agency
News organizations don't want to come see us
cut our own sheet cake --
Inviting reporters inside a prison or taking time out for a ride-along has long-term benefits as well.
Less-informed reporters become the outliers
It establishes a more-informed press corps that is less reactionary during the next incident
There
[is]
a risk to providing access to reporters -- but there's
[also]
a risk to having an uninformed press corps
People are inherently

by corrections -- it's why we're featured in books, TV shows and movies
We have stories about
and the human condition.
The public
[wants]
to support men and women who work in any field that's

and makes us all safer
We
should
be considered the

for positive press coverage in state government
We're interesting.
Among state agencies, DOCs are viewed as the
black hole of positive press coverage
We'll always be associated
with high-profile tragedies
While we're

agencies, we provide
direct services to
[small]
populations
And many of those who we provide direct services to
are not sympathetic people
Showing the work we do
builds

&

for our staff
They want to see the work we do to make the public safer.
And that transparency is what builds

Building a Positive Command Center
by Chad Lewis
Director of Communications
Washington State Department of Corrections
If an Incident Command Center is like playing
Then the Positive Command Center is like playing
[Checkers]
[Chess]
[Positive Command Centers]
?
compelling

Yet
[we]
have the most
stories to tell.
[fascinated]
[visually]
redemption
potentially
dangerous
[Go-To Agency]
[trends]
positive
[anomolies]
positive ,
yet--
willing to be
[innovative]
reasonable
access
always
authentic
spokespeople
[share]
difference
public support
empathy

and
credibility
public trust

important to our agency
has news value
[real]
[large]
Even today, public opinion about our agencies is largely
shaped
by news media
We work behind

and

so the public has to
rely
on news coverage to see what we do
If we're viewed as a



then the public is more willing to support our strategies and initiatives.
Positive press coverage

staff & offender morale
by key
decision-makers, including those at the Governor's office
prison walls
drive unmarked cars
credible,
efficient
responsive
and
agency,
improves
noticed
And it's
[we]
willingness
Our
appreciate
press
understand
Reporters and photographers
Building a Positive Command Center
So, Let's Build a Positive Command Center!
Full transcript