Depicting the Work of Police Foundations on Social Media: A Visual Communication Analysis


  • Stephanie Dolamore Gallaudet University
  • Jessica E. Sowa University of Delaware
  • Lauren Hamilton Edwards University of Maryland, Baltimore County



Communication, Visual Analysis, Police, Social Media


Visual imagery is a fundamental element of our communication systems. Unlike spoken or written words that deliver meaning one word at a time, images convey multiple messages instantly with powerful impact. This study explores the content embedded in the social media images used by nonprofit police foundations in the United States through archeological visual analysis. Findings reveal that public service organizations navigate curation choices when selecting images for social media accounts, such as how best to depict the mission of the organization. The prioritization of image curation is imperative, especially with the growth of social media as a space for promoting encounters with, not just information distribution to, citizens. In the public service, the importance of image curation lies in the potential to reinforce the work of organizations, but the risk is miscommunication with consequences for public trust.

Author Biographies

  • Stephanie Dolamore, Gallaudet University

    Stephanie Dolamore is an assistant professor in the Department of Government and Public Affairs at Gallaudet University. Her research focuses on the intersection of social justice and public organizations.

  • Jessica E. Sowa, University of Delaware

    Jessica E. Sowa is a professor in the Biden School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Delaware. Her research focuses on managing people in public and nonprofit organizations.

  • Lauren Hamilton Edwards, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

    Lauren Hamilton Edwards is an associate professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her research focuses on the management strategies of public and nonprofit organizations.






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