NYPD Uses Twitter: Good Intentions, Poor Results

by cindybrugge

In an attempt to garner public support, the New York Police Department encouraged New Yorkers to tweet about police officers serving the city; however, the public relations strategy unsurprisingly backfired, with thousand of posts bashing the NYPD and many other police departments across the country.

The NYPD announced Tuesday that they wanted people to tweet their experiences with cops using the hashtag, #MyNYPD. It was a nice idea and in an ideal world the NYPD would awake on Wednesday to thousands of photos showing smiling cops helping little old ladies cross the street.

However, the unfortunate thing about the Internet is that it’s a fairly safe place for people to be unapologetically critical. Furthermore, people generally cannot stand cops. They just don’t like them and take every opportunity to give cops a hard time for their mistakes.

That’s what happened here.

Within 24 hours, 110,000 Twitter users posted comments/pictures using the hashtag. And you guessed right, the majority of the posts were negative, showing photos of officers pulling hair and engaging in police violence.

Quickly, similar hashtags, such as #MyLAPD and #MyCPD, littered Twitter with police brutality in other cities.

Although many of the negative pictures are just old incidents reposted with the new hashtag, these negative images are just as effective in creating a disturbing image of police work today.

Police commissioner Bill Bratton isn’t worried about the negative attention and has bought into the old standby that any press is good press.

Another police spokesperson stands by the decision as well. Deputy Chief Kim Y. Royster defended the open forum Twitter allows to the public. She said that the “open dialogue [is] good for our city.”

However, other professionals are not as convinced.  The general consensus is that the NYPD should have avoided the negative social media attention by not instating a strategy bound to implode.