A pioneering Twitter account for the 76 Precinct has gone quiet after recent controversy surrounding posts about local felons released from prison, according to DNAInfo.com.
When the news site published an article about the Twitter feed—which was run by Captain Jeffrey Schiff—the account attracted national attention, not all of it positive. In the aftermath, Police Commisioner Ray Kelly publicly stated the NYPD needed "a comprehensive approach to [social media], rather than a command-by-command, unit-by-unit, approach."
The tweets that drew criticism from beyond Carroll Gardens and Red Hook were alerts on local felons and recidivists reentering the neighborhood after being released from prison. Legal Aid initially threatened Captain Schiff with a lawsuit, as it represents at least one of the defendants named in a tweet. But the agency has offered no followup comment since the feed went silent.
Captain Schiff previously defended his tweets, telling DNAInfo.com, "these aren't guys I've arrested one time or twice. It's the repeat offenders who are very dangerous, who are committing crimes again and again in our neighborhood."
In that December interview, the captain asserted that each of the men he named had been arrested at least 30, 40 or 50 times and that, "It's all public information."
The 76 Precinct account was the first NYPD account to be operated by its commanding officer. Others are generally run by the community affairs officers or representatives of the community council.
Schiff offered no comment to Patch upon inquiry regarding the now-dark feed, but sources say that for all intents and purposes the account has been shut down.
What do you think? Should each local precinct have transparent communication with its surrounding neighborhoods or should all social media be delivered by the city Twitter account @NYPDNews?