Justin Bieber's DUI Arrest: Exploitation by Miami Beach PD Or Masterful Use of Social Media?

Justin Bieber's DUI Arrest: Exploitation by Miami Beach PD Or Masterful Use of Social Media?

TheWrap talks with Detective Vivian Hernandez, the social media wizard behind Miami Beach PD's Justin Bieber mugshot and arrest report tweets

The Miami Beach Police Department's social media team is getting a lot of attention today for their rapid-fire response to the Justin Bieber arrest. The aggressive and comprehensive nature of the way @MiamiBeachPD blasted out copious arrest reports and mug shot photos surprised some media observers who were not familiar with Florida's sunshine law. Some Beliebers cried foul, but the department pointed them to the relevant laws on the books that give them the authority to put all his arrest information out there.

Also read: Justin Bieber Mugshots, DUI Arrest Report Released: ‘I Ain't Got No F–king Weapons’ (Photos)

 

Others applauded the department for their media savvy, which was rewarded with a surge in Twitter followers.

 

So who is the commander of this formidable operation?

“It's just me doing the tweets,” said Detective Vivian Hernandez humbly. “And also Media Relations Officer Bobby Hernandez.”

Also read: Justin Bieber's Bail Set at $2,500 in Nationally Televised Bond Hearing

Hernandez has been the star behind the scenes of @MiamiBeachPD, who was the first to tweet the now iconic Justin Bieber mugshot, working to inform the public of every new breaking development.

The Wrap got in touch with Hernandez during her busy day and asked her how her department prepared so well for this type of media event of cosmic proportions.

Hernandez said she was trained in PR at Florida's Barry University which helped her prepare for the events at hand.

“We've had the Facebook group almost two years and one and half years for Twitter,” Hernandez explained.

She said Miami Beach PD's social media presence really took off once the band One Direction shot a music video in Miami Beach. (pictured above)

Also read: Justin Bieber's ‘Believe’ Flops: 10 Other Lowlights From Biebs’ Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year

“We like to use it to let the public know that it's not always about the bad guys,” Hernandez explained.

Post-Bieber, the police department's Twitter following has skyrocketed in the hours following the arrest. “We were about 400 shy of 4,000 before all this happened,” she said.

Florida's unique media transparency laws also helped get the information out as quickly as possible.

“Florida is very open with their public record laws,” she added.

Also read: Justin Bieber Arrested for DUI, Drag Racing

Hernandez notes that if there ever was an ethical concern over a tweet, she would use some editorial oversight before sending it out.

“If I ever have to make a judgment call — I let Bobby Hernandez check it out and he reviews it.”

Has the department ever had to deal with a previous incident that was the magnitude of Bieber's arrest?

“We've had a couple of NFL incidents before, and not everything has been negative,” Hernandez concluded.

Wrap readers what do you think? Exploitation or masterful use of social media. Tell us below in the comments.

 

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  • Suzette Valle

    Excellent source of first-hand information for the public — directly from police.

  • DCGirl

    His behavior should not be condoned in any way, shape, or form. The publicity is ridiculous.

    • http://www.Xenu.net/ simkatu

      It wasn't condoned. Having it all published quickly is the opposite of condoning it.

  • Pam

    I don't condone what Bieber did at all, but since when did police have to spread information over social media? The hashtags of #MUGSHOT and #ARRESTED reek of sensationalism. I don't like the idea of the police being worried about the amount of Twitter followers they have.

  • Danny Kastner

    Police dept celebrating an arrest. Pretty sad.

  • Cliff_of_Moher

    Since this complies with all Florida laws, and the public has a right to know of high-profile arrests (and the news media obviously has an interest in high-profile arrests), I think it's a great thing. More information = more knowledge; what could be wrong with that?
    Don't want to be splashed all over social media? Don't do bad stuff and get arrested.

  • http://www.lifeant.com/ Thomas Rockford

    Instead of “income inequality”, how about “court cost inequality”? Maybe if court costs were pegged to income, Bieber would be out $450,000 or $4,500,000, instead of a paltry (to him) $45,000. Chump change..

  • Cindy Dillard

    I think what they are doing is a good thing. The only problem with Bieber is his bail should have been higher. The boy is going to end up killing someone with the way he drives and being high and drunk. Good Job MPD!!!!!!!

  • joe bayawan

    He is a worthless punk that is overpaid to ‘sing’ songs that are autotuned