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Establishing community trust before an emergency or critical incident is paramount to maintaining trust with the citizens you serve. 

During a three-year period, Harford County Sheriff's Office responded to three active shooter incidents, including one that took the lives of two Deputies. Additionally, we have faced public relations challenges with 1st Amendment Auditors and agency members charged with crimes. While each situation has been unique, maintaining trust with our community and agency members has remained the same - be open and honest. 

We train and plan tactical operations scenarios all the time – but do we include our PIO in those trainings? How will you communicate during an incident? These incidents are critical for building and maintaining trust and transparency in our workforce and those we are sworn to protect. 

In her session, I will walk through the lessons I've learned in emergency management, the role of building trust, and best practices other agencies can incorporate into their social strategies to prepare themselves for a crisis. 


Cristie Hopkins
Director of Media and Public Relations
Harford County Sheriff's Office