New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton has been roundly ridiculed for asking New Yorkers for photos of the interaction with New York’s Finest for posting on its Twitter site.
In the wake of Occupy Wall Street and the stop & frisk policy of predecessor commissioner Ray Kelly, New Yorkers more than rose to the occasion by relaying unflattering shots of the NYPD in action engaging in various stages of roughing up the population. It wasn’t a pretty sight.
Critics heaped scorn on Bratton, labeling him as out-of-touch and naive snarkily asking, “What did you expect, Bill?”
The Commissioner, instead, deserves praise for his social media outreach with an eye to promote openness and transparency among members of the NYPD.
For way too long, NYC cops have maintained an “us vs. them” policy when it comes to ordinary people, whom they refer to as “civilians” to reinforce their occupying army mentality.
There’s a sense of self-entitlement among police officers, which is reinforced by a blue code of silence that protects official/personal misconduct and either shuns or punishes “rats.”
Career cop Bratton knows all about the unwritten rules of the 34,500-member NYPD. That knowledge is why it’s more than impressive that he forged an aggressive social media policy. That medium is an excellent tool to rebuild a relationship with the people of NYC and their police force.
Bratton is a hard-nosed guy who says he welcomed the “extra attention” received from his Twitter strategy. The public isn’t going to go overload Twitter with praise of New York’s Finest anytime soon. It will, however, react to any positive “we’re all in this together” overtures from the NYPD.
Let the social media experiment continue. There will be rough patches, but its long-term success will make life better for all New Yorkers including cops and civilians.