The Miami Beach PD: Social Media Geniuses or Stealth Paparazzi?

We’re just as sick of the word “Bieber” as you are—but this story is worth a glance. Trust us.

This week The Wrap profiled the Miami Beach Police Department’s social media team, or the folks responsible for breaking the Bieber story yesterday and passing both his mugshot and arrest report along to the world at large.

The department has received a good bit of attention due to its tweets featuring One Direction and the aforementioned Biebs, and you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the woman behind the feed “was trained in PR”—the cops have media relations officers too.

So what’s the deal here, and how does it tie into trends re: police on social?

Recent stories about cops using social include the NYPD’s official rule guide (HINT: don’t be a racist) and the Seattle PD’s decision to hand out Doritos bags at Hempfest complete with an explanation of the state’s new marijuana laws.

The Miami department’s Facebook and Twitter accounts ostensibly provide a public service beyond reporting on celebrity arrests: they deliver up-to-date info on wanted criminals, traffic jams, etc. Their followership more than doubled after the Bieber incident, but we have a feeling many of those new followers just came for the show.

So is it ethical to release arrest reports? That’s an issue for debate, but as the Miami team reminded followers yesterday, it is definitely legal:

(H/T StuffJournalistsLike)