Police department’s ‘humorous’ Father’s Day tweet draws backlash

TOPEKA, Kan. — One northeast Kansas police department took some heat Sunday, June 16 on social media after they tweeted asking moms to turn in their child’s father if he has any criminal history.

The tweet, posted just after 11 a.m. on Father’s Day, was meant to be humorous. It has since been deleted, but not before receiving a lot of backlash from people on the social media platform.

The full tweet said, “Does your child’s father have warrants? Is he carrying around any drugs? Has he been committing any crimes? Want to give him a Father’s Day he’ll never forget? Call TPD and we’ll help your family make a memory that will last a lifetime.”

One user on Twitter said, “This is an embarrassing bad tweet. Way to be professional.”

Will Pope, a candidate for Topeka City Council, tweeted at the department, saying, “Smart to delete the tweet, but not smart to post in the first place. Look at all the uproar on Twitter! This hurts the entire department’s public perception and makes it harder (& less safe) for officers to do their job.”

Kim Baum also tweeted, saying, “That’s truly disgusting! Who thought that was a good idea???? Deleting the message is not enough! An apology and serious community outreach is required to begin to make up for this!”

The department did tweet an apology Monday, saying, “Yesterday, a member of our social media team tweeted on the official TPD Twitter account. The tweet was mean to be humorous and light-hearted, but was hurtful to some.”

The department went on to say that after realizing this, the tweet was quickly deleted and sincerely apologized for the mistake.

“This will be a learning experience and goes to show that words, even when intended to be humorous, can be hurtful to others,” the department went on to say.  “Thank you to all who reached out, letting us know how you felt.”

Pope reacted to the department’s apology, saying, “Kudos to the Topeka police for issuing an apology! This comes 24 hours after the tweet though. A lot of reputation damage has been done since then. City of Topeka communications should use this as a learning moment for how to better respond to a PR crisis. Be more timely!”

Cesc Entreri, another user on Twitter, also responded to the apology, saying, “Anybody can make mistakes. Good deal on recognizing your mistake and owning up to it. My son wants to be in law enforcement. I want him to know that they are supposed to serve and protect and live to a higher standard. Not degrade and belittle. Blessing to you all.”

 

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