WYOMING, Minn. (KMSP) - Wyoming, Minnesota, is home to only about 8,000 people. A total of ten officers equip the small city’s police department. Yet, the night of Super Bowl 51, a snarky social media post put them on the map.
Just after 6 p.m. Sunday night hundreds of thousands were exposed to the department’s Twitter page after one tongue-in-cheek tweet from @WyomingPD went viral – all in an attempt to keep drunk drivers off the street.
The tweet warns that drunk drivers would be subject to “that Justin Bieber T-Mobile Super Bowl commercial the entire way to jail.” It’s since been retweeted 10,000 times and liked more than 16,000.
“I don’t think we envisioned this much success with it,” said Officer Tony Zerwas. “Just that one single tweet had 1.1 million views."
“We’ve seen responses from Europe, Australia, all across the US. and Canada,” Chief Paul Hoppe said.
The department has only been tweeting since the summer of 2015. So far, @WyomingPD has 6,700 followers and counting. And for months the department has received praise from tweeters across the country for its officers’ engaging posts. The posts lack in neither humor nor authenticity and they often include GIFs, videos and memes.
“If we can increase the number of people that are watching our site and following along with us, we’ve increased the number of eyes and ears that we have out there helping us to solve crime,” said Hoppe.
Fortunately, Wyoming PD had zero DWI bookings Sunday night.
“That means I didn’t have to listen to Justin Bieber all the way to jail, and if we prevent one person from drinking and driving last night? Success,” Zerwas said.
Chief Hoppe also tells FOX 9 the primary aim is to build a relationship with their community. The Wyoming police department even hosts a weekly Q&A on social media they call #TalkingTuesday in an effort to fortify its relationship with the immediate and now extended community.
“The more serious the question, the more serious the response. The more entertaining the question, the more entertaining the response,” Hoppe said of #TalkingTuesday.
Since Sunday, Wyoming police department proved it’s not only okay to deliver public safety messages with spunk, style and social media flair –it’s cool.
Especially now that officers can rightfully claim one of @WyomingPD’s original tweets has been leveraged as a free ad on Super Bowl Sunday.
“I’d say that’s a win-win for our community,” Hoppe said with pride.
The Wyoming police department streams virtual ride alongs on their Facebook and Twitter pages every other Saturday. The department's next virtual ride along is Feb. 6 from 6 p.m. – 6 a.m.