Suburban Police Department Plans to Tweet Names of DUI Offenders

By Michelle Relerford
|  Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013  |  Updated 5:30 PM CDT
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A controversial new plan in the Village of Riverside hopes to put the brakes on impaired driving by posting offenders’ information on Twitter. Michelle Relerford reports.

A controversial new plan in the Village of Riverside hopes to put the brakes on impaired driving by posting offenders’ information on Twitter. Michelle Relerford reports.

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A controversial new plan in the Village of Riverside hopes to put the brakes on impaired driving by posting offenders’ information on Twitter.

Chief Thomas Weitzel with the Village of Riverside Police Department said the idea came from some of the younger officers more familiar with social media.

The department formed their Twitter account six weeks ago and Weitzel says a majority of their followers are under the age of 30, and many are teens.

“We were looking at a way to get DUI enforcement out to that demographic so that's how we ended up coming up with the idea and there's also a little bit of shaming,” he said.

The department began tweeting general information on DUI and DUI drug arrests, including time, location, gender, age, city of residence and the charge

But starting Monday, police will begin to post names of offenders and even plan to tweet the mug shots of residents charged with felonies.

“I think it will stop people from drinking and driving,” said resident Miguel Ortega. “It's embarrassing enough just to get one, then having your friends see it.”

The DUI isn't tweeted until an offender posts bond. If an offender is found not guilty the tweet can be deleted, Weitzel said.

Weitzel said 30 percent of DUI offenders in Riverside are repeat offenders and he hope a little social media justice will change that.

“It’s already is public information, it's already out there, why should we not release it to try to deter this?” he said.
 

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