Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) is treading new ground by connecting law enforcement to the community, by personalizing social media.


PORAC has found that implementing social media into their agency’s communication strategy has strengthened their overall connection to the community; while garnering more social engagement by utilizing stickers, gifs and filters on the Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat stories feature.

“Utilizing stickers and gifs on Instagram stories is a great way to catch your audience’s attention and I was disappointed that there weren’t more options related to Law Enforcement. The more I thought about this I figured that I probably wasn’t the only person to have noticed the lack of availability, and I realized that I had the opportunity to change that.”

Marissa Wolford, PORAC Social Media & Content Specialist

Utilizing gifs and stickers on your agency’s social media stories is a simple, but effective way to personalize and highlight any call to action.


Personalizing content with stickers and gifs on social media is also an important tool in strengthening an agency’s branding and allows the agency to receive valuable feedback from followers.


“The results have been amazing. I started by uploading five law enforcement designs in May 2020 and received a couple hundred views, which was very encouraging. Fast forward to October 2020 and we have over 70 law enforcement sticker options to use on social media, with 13 million views,” continued Wolford.


Wolford also expanded law enforcement geared filters on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, which went public in July 2020.


“The first set of filters went public in July 2020 and received minimal views, but today there are over 20 filter effects; and to date those filters have received over 150 thousand views. Seeing our associations and members utilizing these features has been incredible and I look forward to seeing law enforcement filters continue to grow,” Wilford said.


“It’s incredible to know that I had a hand in assisting the public by providing them a method to show their support to our nation’s law enforcement, as well as providing a way for our law enforcement to connect with their communities through social media,” Wolford said.


Although all law enforcement agencies and civilians now have the opportunity to easily apply stickers, gifs, and filters to the posts on their stories, the process is quite time consuming for the content creator.


“I began researching how stickers were published and found that all of them go through GIPHY. After this I made PORAC a GIPHY account and submitted a form to be verified so that the content I upload would be available worldwide,” continued Wolford.


She said after the initial process of gaining PORAC GIPHY access was successfully completed, the fun part began, which was designing the stickers.


“The main programs I use to generate stickers is Adobe Spark and Procreate. Spark provides me an easy platform for piecing together word/phrase designs which I import into procreate to add color changes and/or movement. After that I export the files and upload them to our GIPHY account with the associated tags and then wait 24-48 hour approval from GIPHY,” shared Wolford.

Wolford has generated Instagram filters that determine what type of police K-9 the user is.


Wolford said she also uses the Adobe Spark and Procreate programs to create Instagram filters.


“Once the filters are where I like them, I take the files and upload them into the Spark AR Hub and submit them for review. Once approved I turn them in through PORAC’s account and then they are live for anyone to use. My advice to anyone that wants to create either one of these features is to remember that it’s a process of trial and error,” said Wolford.


Wolford grew up during the emergence of social media platforms and views it as a need for agencies and businesses to forge tighter relationships with those they serve.


“Sharing stories, implementing stickers, and using the filter option allows the user to develop a more personalized connection with their communities. My advice is to put the question out there to your social media following on what they want to see. Is it things like officer Q&As? Behind the scenes of working in organizations or agencies? Once you have an idea of what people are wanting to see from you, start implementing those requests and then build off of that,” concluded Wolford.


Utilizing PORAC’s recommended social media capabilities such as the stories feature, adding stickers/gifs and utilizing filters will assist your agency in personalizing and growing your following, while strengthening engagement.