The Dallas Police Department increasingly uses social media to connect with constituents who might not care much about traditional crime watch meetings, but the department dropped the ball last weekend when spokesman Maj. Max Geron tweeted that Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib was arrested for public intoxication, the Dallas Morning News reports. Police had actually arrested Aqib Talib's brother, Yaqub Talib. Sunday's online goof is a sign that police need to tread more carefully and re-evaluate how information is disseminated to the public. Nearly two hours after he incorrectly tweeted that Aqib Talib had been arrested, Geron publicly apologized to the former Berkner High School star in a tweet and followed up with a news release that stated the incorrect information was sent out “not in keeping with normal protocol.”
By then, his original message had been retweeted hundreds of times and screen shots of the tweet continued to circulate on the Internet even after it was deleted from Twitter. Dozens of news outlets nationwide reported the mix-up. In September, Police Chief David Brown tweeted out the name of a person of interest in a case involving a series of rapes in South Dallas. The man named in the tweets, however, was later cleared in the investigation but Brown's action created a furor and talk of lawsuits. Experts say that with a large social media following comes an increased likelihood that one mistake will overshadow the benefits of tools such as Twitter.