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Dallas PD Uses Twitter To Announce Cop Firings 118

Posted by Soulskill
from the at-least-they're-not-talking-about-their-breakfast dept.
New submitter natarnsco writes "The Dallas, Texas police chief has used an unusual weapon in his arsenal to announce firings and other disciplinary measures in the Dallas police force: Twitter. 'Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown has fired or disciplined 27 officers and employees in the last year. And every time he brings down the hammer, he announces it on Facebook and Twitter, specifying exactly who the men and women are and what they did. On Dec. 30, it was five officers and a 911 call operator.' The article goes on to say, 'Chief Brown is, as far as we know, unique among police chiefs in his use of social media. "I'm unaware of anyone else doing this," says Lt. Max Geron, who handles media relations at the Dallas Police Department. "If we weren't the first, we were one of the first." We checked out the Twitter profiles of various departments around the country as well and couldn't find a similar situation. The social media posts aren't an official policy of the DPD, but rather a "push for transparency" initiative, in Lt. Geron's words. "[It comes from] a desire to be more transparent and to get our message out to the greater community," he says.'"
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Dallas PD Uses Twitter To Announce Cop Firings

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  • Unlikely to last (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ERJ (600451) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @11:11PM (#45894375)
    Although I do think it is a good thing in that it helps strengthen the community support and trust of the police department I have a feeling that it will end at some point in the near future with a lawsuit....maybe I am just jaded but there is a reason that corporations tend to keep these details silent and have created the (poor in my opinion) rules around providing only the minimal amount of employment information after an employee is let go.
  • As it should be... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sconeu (64226) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @11:12PM (#45894391) Homepage Journal

    I agree with Forty Two Tenfold. It's good PR Stunt.

    If cops are canned for disciplinary reasons, they should be called out in public. Good for the chief here.

  • Good start (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @11:15PM (#45894403)

    Get rid if your SWAT department, tanks, and machine guns next.

  • by Scutter (18425) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @11:17PM (#45894415) Journal

    The department isn't a corporation and they are public employees. The time for police to keep things behind closed doors has long since passed.

  • Is that suitable? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cold fjord (826450) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @11:18PM (#45894425)

    If it would end up in the newspaper, fine. Otherwise it could be considered a form of public humiliation.

    It also runs contrary to the old rule of praise in public, discipline in private. (Subject to transparency requirements.)

    I certainly hope that they aren't finding out after the news goes out.

    I wonder how often those tweets will have to be eaten? Tweet in haste, repent at leisure.

  • by mysidia (191772) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @11:27PM (#45894481)

    Although I do think it is a good thing in that it helps strengthen the community support and trust of the police department I have a feeling that it will end at some point in the near future with a lawsuit

    This is possible... and the Police chief may be found in the wrong, if he isn't very careful about what representations he makes in public. There could later be made a claim of libelous defamation -- particularly if the twitter messages imply the target for action was affirmatively guilty, and not "Dismissed under suspicion or allegation of X".

  • Re: Good PR (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AvitarX (172628) <me@brandywinehundre[ ]rg ['d.o' in gap]> on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @12:14AM (#45894701) Journal

    I'd think good all around. When you live in the less savory parts of town, all you see is police abusing neighbors, and nobody caring. The residents know which cops misbehave, and don't see anybody getting consequences (somebody getting promoted or fired looks the same from your porch where all you know is you don't see them ). This is why when you're in the bad parts of town everybody hates the cops, even the law abiding citizens. This initiative hopefully allows people to see that those in charge do care.

    And yes, I am part of the problem, I support politics, and try to spread the word of abuse to colleagues, but I was not about to file actual complaints and get treated like that. As a white person icing with a white teacher, I had police protection rather than abuse even there (we would often complain about problems and have an officer stop by next day to talk about it, even though the far more upstanding black neighbors would complain for weeks and nobody so of care ).

  • by JeffAtl (1737988) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @12:47AM (#45894851)

    If the cops tweeted out the names of people arrested for crimes they would go ballistic.

    Police departments have been publishing photos and names of people arrested on their websites for years. How could you not know this?

    Regardless, cops actually get preferential treatment when it comes to due process as it is almost impossible to find a prosecutor that will try to convict a cop - especially not in the same jurisdiction. Even if cops are caught with overwhelming evidence of criminal acts, the usually face firing where non-cops would face years in prison.

  • by Known Nutter (988758) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @12:56AM (#45894909)

    you are immediately confronted with a login page (just like facebook), and you have to have credentials in order to see the posts

    But that's not what has happened in this case. DPD's Facebook page is public and viewable without being logged into Facebook, as are the details of each officer's discipline posted on Facebook [facebook.com].

  • by SacredNaCl (545593) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @02:41AM (#45895445) Journal

    Care to elaborate?

    I once worked with a police union lawyer before. There are a lot of stupid cops out there, but there are equally a lot of cops who get steamrolled by their chief. For example, maybe the chief wants to reduce his budget. He'll lie about some conduct just so he can fire a cop, ruining that cops career. Or maybe the chief or some other cop wants to retaliate against another cop for being too honest, or maybe just for being female or gay; they'll lie about some behavior to get the other cop fired or disciplined. Insane stuff like this happens all the time, because a lot of cops enter the police force young, and they never grow up.

    If a cop truly did something wrong, then usually there'll be evidence of it. If there's evidence, a lawyer can't get the employee off. At best he can beg the review committee for mercy, but they're under no obligation to do so.

    I have witnessed a good officer let go for what I would consider an unjust cause. The officer in question didn't get with the new commanders special forces background, and wasn't hip to the SWAT style tactics that he brought with him. He was the kind of officer that used conversation to defuse dangerous situations rather than force. He was decorated twice for doing just that, defusing two hostage standoffs at great personal risk. The new boss took a minor complaint and went hog wild with it even though he knew there was never any racial animus in the officer. The police officer had no trouble finding another job with another department, but they let him go just before he became eligible for a better pension at retirement.

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