January 23, 2014

Detective Vivian Hernandez got a call Thursday morning from a media outlet in the Philippines.

“I’m like, the Philippines? Really?” she said Thursday in a phone interview with Poynter.

Yep, the Philippines. The outlet wanted the arrest affidavit and mug shot of Justin Bieber. So Hernandez, media relations officer with the city of Miami Beach, directed them to the department’s Twitter account.

Of course, you know, by now, what this is all about. Justin Bieber was arrested in Miami Beach early Thursday morning for a number of offenses, including drunk driving and resisting arrest.

You know, probably, because the news is everywhere.

And Bieber’s mugshot and arrest record are everywhere because the Miami Beach Police Department tweeted them, along with similar info about Khalil Sharief, who was also charged with DUI in the incident.

Releasing that information today was no different than how the city handles high-profile cases, visitors or natural disasters, Hernandez said. She knows that journalists work in a competitive environment, where moments matter. Her job, she said, is to get accurate information out as quickly as possible.

“If we have the information, we’re gonna put it out there for everyone,” she said.

In May of last year, Poynter wrote about how Seattle, Boston and Cleveland police departments use social media. Hernandez said that the Miami Beach PD started working with social media after seeing how the Tampa Police Department used social media during the Republican National Convention.

Miami Beach PD sent officers to the presidential inauguration, Hernandez said, and they live-tweeted the whole thing.


The department tweeted about a robbery last year at the home of Miami Heat player Chris Bosh. And, while on off-duty service for One Direction, they tweeted, too.


“When it comes to celebrities, we are a very unique city,” Hernandez said.

So, yeah, if Bieber gets arrested, the police department’s gonna tweet about it. It’s how they can be transparent, Hernandez said.

“And most important, that’s factual information.”

There’s no speculation, she said. Just an arrest report. A smiling mug shot and a slew of reporters, some from the Philippines, who get to follow up.



Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.
Kristen Hare covers the people and business of local news and is the editor of Locally at Poynter. She previously worked as a staff writer…
More by Kristen Hare

More News

Back to News


Comments are closed.