P.G. police to announce prostitution sting — in 140 characters or less

Department plans to ‘live-tweet’ takedown

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Testing the awkward boundaries of social media, Prince George's County police plan to become the first department in the nation to “live-tweet” a prostitution sting.

The agency made the attention-grabbing announcement Thursday but wouldn’t say when the sting itself would take place.

“The PGPD’s Vice Unit will conduct a prostitution sting that targets those soliciting prostitutes and we’ll tweet it out as it happens,” the announcement states. “From the ads to the arrests, we’ll show you how the PGPD is battling the oldest profession.”

Police departments across the country, from Kansas City to Seattle, have used Twitter to give curious citizens a glimpse into the lives of law enforcement officers through such virtual ride-alongs. Prince George's County police are no exception, posting the activities of patrol officers or canine teams in the past.

The county police department describes this latest venture as the first time Twitter has been used to live-tweet a prostitution take down and promises to tweet suspect photos and information in real time.

“We’re using this progressive, and what we believe unprecedented, social media tactic to warn any potential participants that this type of criminal behavior is not welcome in Prince George’s County,” the announcement states.

Social media strategies don’t always go as planned for police agencies that engage on Twitter.

When the New York Police Department last month asked people to post photos of the agency’s police officers in action, Twitter uses hijacked the associated #myNYPD hashtag by posting a slew of photos featuring police brutality instead.

For those eager to see how this latest attempt goes, the police department’s Twitter handle is @PGPDNews.

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