How the NYPD Is Communicating About Times Square Terror Threat

Department Touts Reassuring Messages Across Social, Digital, and Traditional Media

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The New York Police Department precinct in Times Square, New York City.
The New York Police Department precinct in Times Square, New York City. Credit: Clemens v. Vogelsang via Flickr

Amid the fear associated with the recent ISIS propaganda video threatening New York City – particularly Times Square – the New York Police Department is working hard to spread reassuring messages about the city's safety.

The NYPD is using a variety of tactics, including press conferences, digital and social media, and exclusive interviews with Police Commissioner William Bratton, to tell people that there is "no current or specific threat," said J. Peter Donald, director of communications for the NYPD.

The NYPD is not using any external communications agency support; instead its communications team is working closely with other New York City agencies, such as the Fire Department, as well as the Mayor's Office.

Wednesday afternoon, the @NYPDNews Twitter handle posted a link to the department's statement about the video, followed a few hours later by a post that said: "On the streets & in the subways, the NYPD is protecting NYC 24/7. #ItsWhatWeDo."

The #ItsWhatWeDo hashtag came from a speech Mr. Bratton held at the funeral for Detective Randolph Holder late last month.

Mr. Donald said the @NYPDNews page will continue to be a platform where people can find updates, developing news, and of course, crisis and emergency information. The NYPD News website is another online spot where people can go to keep informed.

Aside from digital outlets, the department has been busy on the traditional media front, kicking off with Mr. Bratton's late-night press conference in Times Square on Wednesday. He also made an appearance on "CBS This Morning" on Thursday, and then attended The Beat by Manhattan Institute's first "Quality of Life Week" discussion panel later in the afternoon. The panel, in which Mr. Bratton addressed the NYPD's counterterrorism initiatives, was livestreamed on Periscope.

The NYPD is stressing that there is no specific threat to the city at this time, but it's still asking everyone to remain diligent and report weird or suspicious behavior.

"We are strongly encouraging everyone to continue about their daily routines – continue going to work, going to see shows, going out to dinner," said Mr. Donald, who plans on going out to dinner in the city tonight. "The moment we start living in fear is the moment we've lost."

Mr. Bratton told media outlets Thursday that he has no concerns about the upcoming Thanksgiving Day Parade, and he plans to attend the event with his family.

In terms of communicating with local businesses and organizations, Mr. Donald said the NYPD has many programs and individuals within the department that engage influencers and community members on a regular basis.

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