New York City thinks so. But apparently, the practice is being eyed with some ambivalence and after yesterday’s request from the NYPD for followers to post photos of average citizens with New York’s finest went viral thanks to 70,000 posts, that city might be rethinking the idea.
The request from NYPD’s Twitter page was meant to act as a form of positive public relations, but it clearly backfired when it blew up with all kinds of photos of police brutality and less than flattering photos of policemen handling difficult situations–many of the photos from Occupy New York. The department was most likely looking for shots of policemen helping people, showing them in a favorable light.
The campaign came on the heels of a decision to allow a handful of top cops to tweet from the job, which was also met with some skepticism. Police departments have their own rules about social media. By and large, the majority ban the practice, much like corporations ban employees from representing their employer on social media.
While some criticize the NYPD for even putting the request out there, I think otherwise. Police provide a vital function, regardless of your personal beliefs or experiences. And I have a simple guideline when it comes to criticizing–unless I have done the job myself or am willing to, I’m cautious about jumping into the fray.