Police in Minnesota have announced that this coming weekend is going to be a tough one for anyone considering drinking before getting behind the wheel. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has announced that this weekend it will launch its biggest crack down on drunk drivers ever. Authorities say they will have 150 squad cards on the streets in and around Minneapolis searching for drivers who are impaired.
The big push will begin late Friday night and continue well into early morning hours on Saturday. The campaign will focus on the areas in and immediately surrounding St. Paul and Minneapolis. The goal of the operation is to sweep up potentially hundreds of drivers in the Twin Cities in one night, not only keeping them off the road and away from other drivers, but also sending a strong message to others that the police are lurking waiting on intoxicated motorists.
Another component of the latest sweep is a surprising one, the Department of Public Safety says that it will tweet any and all arrests it makes during the one-night sweep, revealing the names of those that are arrested. The department says that it will use its official Twitter account, @MnDPS_DPS, to live report all arrests that take place as well as promote the extensive patrols it intends to conduct throughout the upcoming summer. The department says that it wants to demonstrate how seriously it takes incidents of drunk driving and how far it is willing to go to curb the deadly problem.
The move is surprisingly aggressive and has some people asking whether the goal is to save lives or simply embarrass people. It seems as if the department has decided to publicly humiliate drivers who had a few too many, hoping that this serves as a warning to others in the future. Another question is whether the campaign will mainly target younger drivers who have a presence on Twitter. After all, the demographic for the social media site skews on the young side and many older people may not even be aware that their names appeared in a tweet.
The campaign should raise some eyebrows given the damage that such a public message about drunk driving could do to harm the reputations of drivers mixed up in the sweep. In today’s electronic era a person’s web presence can be extremely important for their career and future opportunities. Bosses frequently scan the internet for articles about a person as do admissions officers in college. A tweet by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety could be incredibly damaging to some individuals, especially in cases that go on to be dropped or dismissed. After all, the initial tweet about the impaired driving arrest will be broadcast for all to see, but what about the subsequent dismissal? Will the Department of Public Safety be issuing public apologies for all those it was wrong about?
Some articles have decried the campaign, saying it amounts to a modern version of putting someone in the stocks to be publicly taunted. The crackdown campaign will be broadcast on Twitter and can be followed by searching for the phrase #May10DWI.
Source: “If You Drink and Drive in Minneapolis or St. Paul Your Name Will End Up on Twitter,” by Glen Tickle, published at Geekosystem.com.