Wednesday, April 30, 2014

COVOST Introduction & Brief History

Ours is a digital age where the virtual world must be fully engaged.

The Colorado Virtual Operations Support Team (COVOST) grew out of the preexisting Jefferson County Virtual Operations Support Team (JeffcoVOST).

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office realized that the modern information sharing strategy must differ from traditional press release based ‘pad n paper’ media outreach.  The Sheriff’s Office thus created and activated, in 2013, the JeffcoVOST as part of its overall integrated social media and public information strategy.

The intent of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office was to define and refine the integrated social media and public information strategy.  To this end, the Sheriff’s Office used the JeffcoVOST to not only support the information strategy but also to gather information for the purpose of informing and influencing the planning and operational response while simultaneously providing vital overall situational awareness.

In March of 2014 the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) adopted the JeffcoVOST and restructured the team into the COVOST.  DHSEM continues to work in close partnership with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to insure the continuity and success of the COVOST program.

The COVOST is specifically designed to be a resource that will be available to the State of Colorado and any local community that wishes to fully experience the dual benefits of both engaging with, and listening and responding to, the modern virtual landscape.

The COVOST is not meant to replace or substitute any social media response or plan.  The COVOST is a resource that can be activated to supplement or enhance a community’s existing social media for emergency response (SMEM) plan.

The virtual operations and SMEM world is a relatively new realm with exciting possibilities.  The Colorado Virtual Operations Support Team stands ready to further define and refine this virtual arena while leading and supporting communities across Colorado as they continue to mold SMEM into the powerful reality we already know it to be.


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