According to Riverside Police Chief Tow Weitzel, taking to Twitter is one way the department hopes to deter young people from drinking and driving.
“I’m hoping that seeing these names, and seeing the amount of arrests that Riverside makes, will send a message,” Weitzel said.
Weitzel added that the tweets will be sent from the account @PDRiverside.
Will It Work?
The goal of the program is to alert young adults to the dangers of drinking and driving. The reason the Riverside Police Department believes Twitter is the perfect medium to distribute their message is two-fold. According to Weitzel, drivers under the age of 30 account for the majority of drunk driving arrests, and they make up most of the department’s following on the social media site. Weitzel believes if the targeted Tweets prevent even one person from driving drunk, the campaign will be a success.
Although social media shaming has its fair share of critics, Weitzel emphasized that the department isn’t releasing any information that isn’t readily available under public information laws.
“It’s nothing that we’re not already giving out,” he said. “It’s just that we’re going to be sending it out ourselves, through our social media account.”
As noted above, the Twitter account will share the names, ages and towns of residence for anyone charged with a DUI after they post bond or make their first court appearance. The department will also tweet the names of drivers who are charged with possession of illegal drugs, and those who have been caught driving with a suspended or revoked license as a result of a previous drunk driving charge.
Weitzel announced that the tweets would begin Monday.