Emojis for 14th St. Crime? MPD’s New Flack Shakes up Twitter

by Tim Regan January 28, 2016 at 3:50 pm 0

Mario Kart? Super Troopers? Emojis? It’s not just you. MPD’s Twitter account has been a little more… lively lately. Dustin Sternbeck, MPD’s new top spokesman, is part of the reason why.

Sternbeck, who lives in Leesburg and formerly worked as the spokesman for the Arlington County Police Department, stepped into his new at MPD role earlier this month.

“When I started with the Arlington County Police Department … I saw the importance of expanding their social media footprint and engaging with citizens in Arlington in a different manner,” Sternbeck said. “Humoristic ways. There was a need to engage in the 20-something population and engage in a more conversational and fun way.”

So, Sternbeck began writing fun, facetious tweets for the Arlington audience. And they caught on in a big way. Today, his legacy can be seen every time ACPD tweets lyrics to Drake’s “Hotline Bling” or “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” gifs.

The idea, Sternbeck told us, is to do basically the same thing, but for D.C. Going forward, Sternbeck said he’ll lead the department’s social media team — yes, there is a whole team; Sternbeck insists that it’s “not just him” — in crafting all kinds of clever tweets.

“I want to use different mediums to connect with the population, whether that’s pop culture or relevant celebrities that can connect with a population on a more intimate level,” he said. “I think using the humor and the fun stuff … accomplishes that goal.”

And so far, so good. The “new” MPD tweeting style has been praised across D.C. twitter, from influential local journalists to D.C.’s largest scuttlebutt purveyor.

“We’re seeing an overwhelmingly positive reaction from everyone on our social media platforms,” Sternbeck said. “It solidifies the fact that this approach does work. Yes, we are a very professional agency, but it’s striking the right balance between professionalism and ways to connect with the community better.”


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