Law enforcement personnel are soon to get their own social networking site.

From FOX News:

The final stages are near completion for the launch of a law enforcement social media network designed exclusively for the men and women in blue.

Created by former high-profile New York City police commissioner and Los Angeles Police Chief Bill Bratton, BlueLine is being touted as a site where officers can share their expertise, insight and information securely through video, instant messaging, videoconferencing and screen share capabilities.

The network is scheduled to go live at the International Association of Police Chiefs’ annual conference in Philadelphia in late October, Bratton said.

Regarded as an international expert on reducing crime, combating gang violence and improving police-community relations, Bratton said there’s been a longstanding belief that federal, state and local agencies work closely, especially since the Sept. 11 attacks.

That’s not entirely true, Bratton said, adding that he hopes BlueLine will be another tool to help bridge the gap. Those who join will be accredited members of law enforcement. They also will be able to create databases, have PowerPoint meetings and search for other members via name, topics and interests.

Only accredited members of law enforcement will be able to join the social networking site.  Bratton indicated that it will give officers the opportunity to network with their counterparts in other areas of the country on topics such as gangs and counterterrorism and to share best practices.  But it will have its limits on what can be shared, of course – for instance, it would not allow personnel to share details on specific criminal cases.

The social networking site is currently being beta tested by officers within the Los Angeles Police and LA County Sheriff’s departments, as well as campus police officers with the University of Southern California.

In a public sense, many law enforcement agencies have begun relying more on social media to assist in encouraging crime solving tips, disseminating information and building community relationships.

All of that has its down sides and dangers, of course.  But with budget cuts hitting many departments, many hope such an internal tool might aid them in finding ways to leverage information and resources, and a safe place from which to share it.