JGPR was founded at the end of 2013 with the following business philosophy:
Every police and fire department deserves a public information officer and effective public relations. Every small town deserves a press secretary. Every small company and start-up deserves the same professional public relations treatment that massive corporations get. Everyone deserves effective content, websites, and social media in this day and age. That’s where we come in.
Across the nation, large city police departments, major city mayors, urban fire departments, state bureaucracies, district attorneys and county attorneys, state police and virtually all federal agencies employ full-time civilians whose sole purpose is to provide effective communications on behalf of their politician or agency. A public relations official. They go by many names: Director of Communications, Press Officer, Press Secretary, Public Affairs Officer, etc. It’s a public relations person.
These people are trained professionals. They are well-paid and usually have stable jobs with excellent benefits.
For small and mid-sized municipalities and agencies, that presents two major problems:
Problem 1: Agencies are not budgeted for a full-time communications professional. FTE money is not exactly falling out of the sky. And in most cases, full-time employee budgets are needed to perform the vital and basic services of the agency.
Problem 2: Agencies generally do not have 40 hours worth of communications work each week. Professional communicators generally aren’t looking for part-time work. Hiring a “local person to do social media” may sound good on paper, but what happens when there is a major crisis? A public relations agency provides the balance: Low-cost, no benefits or pension and increased availability when there are emergencies or major events.
One of the reasons why JGPR was created was because our founder, John Guilfoil, saw that police and fire departments, sheriff’s departments, emergency management agencies, public health departments, ambulance providers, and other public servants are shockingly misrepresented and underrepresented in the media and were less effective at reaching their constituents during a major incident. Not in New York and Los Angeles, but in small towns in New Hampshire that deal with a horrific tragedy and cities where residents all but disregard the small regional airport in their backyard until one day…
We’re also talking about people who don’t ask for the spotlight. And it’s not nearly just about “incidents” and bad news. There’s good police work, like using the local drag strip to teach kids about cars, instead of arresting them for street racing. It’s firefighters filling the boot and watching their sons and daughters join the department.
The Mayor, Town Manager, Superintendent, Director, or Chief of the Department should NOT serve as the public information officer. A PIO has to wrangle the press and respond to logistical questions on the phone, email, and even social media. A civilian, ideally, or a member of the leadership team or command staff should be given this task, to free up the chief and to properly prepare him or her for a press conference or interview.
To deploy a skilled, creative, aggressive team of public relations professionals wherever and whenever they are needed. To assist police and fire departments in informing the public about incidents and the good work that goes on every day. To assist municipal agencies, municipal managers and school districts in putting forth a modern communication strategy. To provide veteran media relations experience, crisis management, and disaster communications to our clients. To produce clean, clear, concise content. To build and maintain an unshakable reputation for quality.
Why This Firm?
We are a unique agency. Most public relations firms don’t understand the police and fire culture or the pressures and challenges of a school district. This is clear in their approach, style, and price.
JGPR will show up anywhere, anytime. We will take calls 24/7/365, because you don’t work banker’s hours. We will work with any municipal budget. If a client wants our services, they will receive our services.
Direct Publishing and Strategy
This is not 1997. This is not 2007. Public relations has changed more in the past two decades than it had in the 100 years before that.
Your agency cannot rely on the newspaper as a core part of your communications strategy. If you are not producing and publishing your own content, with a consistent message, in a timely manner, using all of the traditional print and digital tools at your disposal, then you’re missing out and so are your constituents.
JGPR provides much more than just press releases and advice. We:
- Reach out directly to the media to pitch your story
- Take incoming media inquiries during incidents to free up your staff and dispatchers to do their jobs
- Design high-quality mobile responsive websites that directly broadcast your news to your social media accounts
- Create eye-catching email newsletters
- Design and produce press conference backdrops, A/V lecterns, outdoor banners, redesigned patches, coins, and apparel.
- Bring in teams of experts to conduct investigations and administrative reviews
- Bring in teams of experts to conduct employment screening and leadership training
- Train your staff to better work with the news media
- Communicate and manage crisis and stick around to help rebuild your brand and restore trust after a bad incident
Today, your company, agency, or department needs media relations, crisis management, content/blog entry production, social media management, branding, web design, and someone to sit in on the meetings and tell you what’s a truly bad marketing idea — and we’ve heard plenty.
Public relations has become so much more than pitching stories and writing press releases. Today’s clients can help craft their own message in text, photographs, videos, memes, infographics, and whole blogs dedicated to their work.
Of course, the benefits haven’t changed.
If you’re in the business world, we can name the benefits — better reputation, return customers, positive press, one-day “bad” stories — but if you understand public relations, then you know what a good firm does for you: improves your bottom line. If you don’t understand the connection, we’ll show you. Just drop us a line.
If you’re in government, police, fire, EMS, or emergency management, the value of good public relations and public information officers is twofold. First, it builds trust and confidence with constituents, including the news media, social media influencers (we know how many people are listening to your scanners on Twitter…) and community bloggers. Second, it keeps everyone on message and prevents confusion and disorder.
And if your department doesn’t understand the value of PR in government and emergency management, we’ll come to your meetings and teach everyone in the room why it matters — and we have plenty of examples of what happens when incident commanders aren’t media trained. We also know that most police and fire departments aren’t budgeted for a PR firm. We have solutions that will put a smile on the most budget-conscious chief. Contact us with any questions or concerns.
Media Training Opportunities
JGPR regularly conducts media training and gives presentations to police and fire departments on topics ranging from “Public Information Basics” to “Critical Incident Media Relations.”
Some of our key points are constant:
- You need a public information plan
- You need a public information officer (or designee)
- A police/fire chief should NOT be a public information officer (Why? Ask us.)
- Crisis is an opportunity