Edina Police Chief Jeff Long took to Twitter to express his grievances regarding a recent missing child alert, while also proving himself a communicative official on social media.
On Monday night, Edina police issued a "Code Red" phone alert in connection with a missing 11-year-old, and Long announced Tuesday morning on Twitter that the force has been fielding backlash as a result.
@EdinaPoliceChf Last night we issued a "Code Red" phone alert for a missing 11 y.o. Today we are fielding complaints from ppl upset we did so. Cant win.
The child was found safe, but Long's department also fielded dozens of calls from people complaining about the recorded message contained in the reverse 911 call that rang phones of Edina residents and those who had registered their mobile numbers.
"This was a missing kid that we felt was in danger," Long explained. "Not really dressed for the weather, didn't have a cell phone."
According to Long, not one person who complained about the 38-second message asked about the child's welfare.
"The complaints we've gotten so far have been basically, 'You interrupted my evening,'" Long said. "'You interrupted my TV show.' 'Why do I care about somebody else's parenting problems?'"
Out of the thousands of homes that got the call, getting about 30 complaints is a small percentage -- but the very idea that even one person would find that kind of message an annoyance really irritated Long.
"A human being missing is pretty important," he insisted.
Some people even walked into the department to complain about the message, and Long said he's got one of his own for them: He has no regrets.
"I was really shocked when we got those calls," he said. "I thought that really, we were doing the right thing."
The reverse 911 system is used sparingly and usually targets specific neighborhoods for things like gas leaks.
As conversation continued between Long and followers Tuesday morning, one follower said he appreciated the alert and suggested the complainers "lighten up." Long announced some positive feedback eventually came in and attributed it to his efforts on Twitter.
@EdinaPoliceChf Thank you, now we R receiving some nice calls..I think it may be the tweet that triggered these!