Dallas Police Chief Stirs Things Up On Twitter
Dallas Police Chief David Brown is definitely a fan of Twitter.
He's active on the social media network, posting notes about basketball tournaments and answering questions from his Twitter followers.
But among the updates he posts are the names of the officers and other employees he has recently fired. It all started as an effort to increase transparency. But the city’s police association is complaining about the practice.
In late December, Brown used Twitter to announce the firing of several police officers, calling each one out by name.
In one tweet, Brown said an officer was sacked for “public intoxication, damaging a person’s property, and making offensive contact with a person.”
I have terminated SC Amy Wilburn today for firing her weapon upon an unarmed person without fear or justification.— Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown (@ChiefDavidBrown) December 30, 2013
Chris Livingston is a private attorney for the Dallas Police Association. He says what Brown is doing is unprecedented and dangerous.
“Pandering to the public and to the media is what this is,” Livingston says. “He’s not taking the time to fully learn the facts and do a thorough investigation.”
Livingston says it’s standard practice to bring cases before a grand jury; instead, Brown is shouting out his decisions to 5,000 followers. (He's @DPDChief)
Brown has defended his actions -- on Twitter, of course:
While the termination tweets have been clean so far, last week Brown spiced up his feed with several swear words directed at reporters at The Dallas Morning News. He apologized – on Twitter.
“His use of Twitter has in some ways violated the social media policy that he put into place,” Livingston says. “And [it’s] been something that we’ve warned officers not to do in the last several years.”
Public reaction on Twitter has been mixed, but everyone’s responded in 140 characters or less.