Bill Bratton Started a Cops-Only Social Network Called "BlueLine Connect"

Categories: Bill Bratton

Bill Bratton, co-founder of BlueLine Connect and your new police commissioner
During his first stint as New York City police commissioner, Bill Bratton gained a reputation as an early tech adopter. He's the guy who introduced CompStat -- the statistical model that determines where crime will occur -- to the department. CompStat has since spread to police departments around the country.

So maybe it shouldn't be surprising that during his time in the private sector (he stepped down as Los Angeles police chief in 2009) Bratton co-founded a social network exclusively for police officers, BlueLine Connect.

The service -- which reporter Darwin BondGraham included in last month's Voice roundup of Bratton's potential conflicts of interest -- launched in October, and requires an official law-enforcement email to sign up the same way the early iterations of Facebook required a college one. Cofounder David Riker estimates the service has more than 10,000 users.

NYPD officers have been known to use Facebook in investigations -- posing as nubile young women to catfish gang members -- but, officially, the department prohibits members from posting pictures of themselves in uniform, or mentioning their job anywhere in their personal profile.

In March, Ray Kelly issued a letter reminding officers of the rule, and warning them they could fired for breaking it.

Neither Facebook nor LinkedIn, Riker says, "have security protections, et cetera, for individuals to guard their identity." Riker describes BlueLine Connect as "a safe environment for law enforcement professionals, who shouldn't be exposing their identity as a law enforcement professional."

Yesterday, as Bill de Blasio was announcing Bratton's appointment as NYPD commissioner, BlueLine Connect's official account tweeted, "As the @NYCTransition gets underway, BlueLine will be transitioning too."

A message on the homepage also seemed to imply Bratton's new position would be a boon for BlueLine too: "Congratulations, Commissioner Bratton, as you bring BlueLine's mission of collaboration to New York and beyond." Next to the congratulatory message was a photo of Bratton with co-founders David Riker and Jack Weiss.

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