During a time when we're all watching police departments hoping they won't screw up, the Detroit Police Department seems to be, well, screwing up. They're doing a fine job with trying to clean up the streets, but communicating that message seems to be a challenge.
For years the Detroit Police has struggled with understaffing and a lack of resources. But since James Craig, a guy we like around here, arrived as chief last year, there has been a concentrated effort to improve the department and its image.
Not only that, but the DPD has been under federal oversight for the past 11 years for aggressive, overly violent tactics when it comes to using force. (Are we trendsetters here in Detroit or what?) This week, the DPD is slowly beginning its transition out of federal oversight and back into city control.
So you'd think the DPD would take care to put on its best face when things seem to be going in the right direction. But this is Detroit, and we can never have nice things. At least not for very long.
In response to a Motor City Muckraker story about wild arsons in the city — which involves the Detroit Fire Department and not so much the police — @bridgespeaks asked on Twitter about Craig coming into the neighborhoods for "oft publicized" raids, referring to big crime sweeps as of late. What that has to do with arson, I don't know. I can't really read the tweet's tone.
But @bridgespeaks tagged Muckraker, a two-person independent journalism team, and the DPD in the tweet, and that seemed to aggravate whoever was tweeting for Detroit Police. The beef between Muckraker and the DPD is tough; Muckraker has reported in the past that the DPD is spinning its crime statistics and holding back on releasing statistics on violent crimes in order to make it appear that the city is safer.
Well, apparently the police wanted the team at Muckraker to see for themselves that crime is going down, and hit back at the arson story saying they were invited to all of the raids but haven't shown up. Again…arson…raids…what's the connection?
From here it gets bizarre, because I have no idea how DPD is trying to respond. It's all bad syntax and typos from here on out. (Fortunately I had the foresight to screengrab; as expected, the DPD erased their tweets after this exchange, because erasing things off the internet always works.)
It's here that, I think, the DPD's tweeter thought Muckraker was suggesting that criminals be released to the public? Er...
And then here it just gets…I don't even know. (Note: This is the exact sequence of responses. Nothing has been taken out of chronology.)
Diacuas? What the fuck?
Caught in the crossfire, @bridgespeaks jumped back in, prompting even more response.
To which the DPD seemed to back down a bit:
It finally ended here with a kiss-off from Muckraker:
But here's the thing: There have always been issues with DPD on social media. Not rude responses, but seriously — elementary-level typos. Like this:
POLICE SEEKING PUBLICS ASSISTANCE On August 30, 2014 at approximately 9:18 AM while two (2) female employees... http://t.co/UzU9C6xvHZ
— Detroit Police Dept. (@detroitpolice) August 30, 2014
What name do out think should be our next restore order operation?
— Detroit Police Dept. (@detroitpolice) August 1, 2014
And homophone issues:
The Detroit Police Department is waiting on results from Medical Examiner for bone found on a construction sight.
— Detroit Police Dept. (@detroitpolice) July 31, 2014
And several struggles with compound words:
OUT REACH TO THE HOMELESS http://t.co/9xoFrUpou0
— Detroit Police Dept. (@detroitpolice) May 23, 2014
Throw Back Thursday!
— Detroit Police Dept. (@detroitpolice) June 19, 2014
and oh, my goodness, this (check the URL from this now-corrected press release):
And sometimes tweets that are spelled correctly, but just seem completely random.
— Detroit Police Dept. (@detroitpolice) May 6, 2014
Chief is talking about Detroit love.
— Detroit Police Dept. (@detroitpolice) June 5, 2014
And sometimes tweeting like they're 12, LMAO:
And the list goes on; just take a stroll through the account. So who do we have to complain to for a change? Orr? Snyder? Duggan? Syncora? It's getting embarrassing.