The Miami-Dade Schools Police Department usually tweets about public safety concerns, outreach efforts and district meetings.
But over the past few weeks, the department’s Twitter account has featured a few entries of a different sort.
On Wednesday, the @MiamiSchoolsPD account retweeted a message from Donald Trump calling for a reversal of President Barack Obama’s Cuba policies.
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A few weeks earlier, the schools police account retweeted a GIF of sloshing beer mugs promoting “Happy #NationalDrinkBeerDay” and a Miami New Times article asking if marijuana oil was the new female Viagra.
Miami-Dade Schools Police spokesman Lt. Raul Correa was surprised to learn about the tweets, which he had not seen before the Herald brought them to his attention. He said he wasn’t sure who had posted the off-topic tweets but he had a good idea how it happened.
In an effort to attract more Twitter followers, Correa said he had given the account password to half a dozen people in the department so they could all pitch in to keep it active. He wanted to make sure the schools police had a lot of Twitter followers so they could reach parents and students when they needed to.
He said he had not expected the staff to take the new freedom so liberally.
“I’m going to limit the access now,” Correa said, vowing to change the Twitter account password as soon as he got off the phone.
On Friday, in response to the Herald’s article, Miami-Dade Schools Police Chief Ian Moffett directed an investigation to determine if the department’s Twitter account was hacked or inappropriately used by personnel.
Later on Friday afternoon, Correa said the Twitter account would be deactivated until the schools police had conducted a thorough investigation. “It is evident that our Twitter account was improperly used,” he said. In the meantime, all Twitter messages from the schools police will be sent through the school district’s main Twitter account.