Friday, April 25, 2014

NYPD Public Relations Disaster

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When the New York Police Department asked Twitter users on Tuesday to share their photographs with police officers, I am not wrong to believe that they had expected feel-good pictures of friendly poses.

Indeed, there were some nice pictures – see photo above – but there were even many more photos that show unfavorable images of NYPD officers that could be found on the Internet.

Officers holding down a photographer on the pavement and a white-shirted supervisor twisting an arm, among scores taken during Occupy Wall Street protests. And an officer knocking a bicyclist to the ground during a Critical Mass protest ride, and another dancing provocatively with a barely clad parade goer. Also a dog being shot. Officers on trial, or sleeping in uniform on a subway train.


Embarrassing pictures that counter a well-intentioned effort by the Police Department to engage with New Yorkers on social media, particularly on the short messaging service.

And for a time on Tuesday, that hashtag, developed by the department’s social media team, rose to the top 10 shared by Twitter users, not only in New York but around the world.

A spokesperson for the department, Deputy Chief Kim Y Royster, said in a two-sentence statement Tuesday evening that the department was “creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community” and that Twitter provided “an open forum for an uncensored exchange” that is “good for our city.”

But I am glad to note that the above experience will not stop the NYPD from pushing forward with social media endeavors. As another spokesperson, Stephen Davis said. “You take the good with the bad”. Well-said.

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