The Moose Jaw police chief is saying sorry after one officer tweeted a remark about a female prisoner passing the hat for bail money from the official @MJPolice account.
— tdotsomebody (@tdotsomebody) October 31, 2015
The tweet was sent out on Thursday night, but Police Chief Rick Bourassa says it came to his attention on Friday.
“All of a sudden there were a lot of complaints that seemed to be coming through our twitter account,” he said. “I saw the complaints about it and we deleted that message that evening and I sent out an apology to people for the content.”
We apologize and thank you for your feedback… pic.twitter.com/F0NsVO8eJT
— Moose Jaw Police (@MJPolice) October 31, 2015
@mjpolice -appalled & saddened by police ignorance. Shame on the MJ police for their lack of professionalism and blatant disrespect.
— Raelynne (@MyRaedoka) November 1, 2015
@MJPolice I truly hope the person manning your social media feeds gets some sort of sensitivity training…that was inexcusable!
— Syanne Fay (@Syannesays) October 31, 2015
“It just doesn’t reflect the values that we have,” he said, regarding the tweet. “We have a very strong sense of treating people with dignity and respect.”
After doing some interviews on the weekend, Bourassa launched an investigation and contacted the public complaints commission.
Bourassa admits he expected some “growing pains” after launching the official twitter account to improve transparency and public openness about a year ago.
“There’s an expectation of immediate communication through twitter and there’s an expectation of some lighthearted communication and some entertainment through that. We knew that going in,” he commented. “We knew there would be a risk that there may be an inaccurate or inappropriate comment go out.”
Bourassa says the Moose Jaw Police Service is working on a formal social media policy to replace the current informal policy along with training to reflect that policy.
He has spoken to the officer who sent the tweet and that officer won’t be allowed to use the twitter account until the matter is resolved.