Not disclosing when or where the sting may occur, the department hoped to send out a warning: "This type of criminal behavior is not welcome in Prince George's County."
"We won't tell you when or where, other than it's somewhere in the country next week." They wanted to instill fear into both sex workers and their clients and increase the department’s social media following. "You can follow @PGPDNews and search #PGPDVice as we take you along for the takedowns."
What they probably didn’t expect was the massive backlash to their plan.
The department issued a press release saying there was a misunderstanding and that officers would only focus on those who chose to solicit a prostitute, not the prostitutes themselves.
"The intent all along has been to put on notice and/or arrest the very people who exploit women and even young girls in our community," it stated.
The Prince George police hoped that by live-tweeting a prostitution sting, it would discourage child sex offenders.
It did not sell:
"Some young girls and women involved in prostitution are victims of human trafficking,” said the police. "Our Vice Unit regularly helps trafficked women connect with groups and advocates who help them escape the dangerous sex trade. We're hoping the advance notice we've provided acts as a deterrent to would-be johns who choose to engage in this illegal behavior. This is another example of our department's commitment to transparency."
While their intentions may have been pure, people across America now believe that increased police presence, regardless of the target, usually leads to trouble. As it is, too much power and lack of accountability had seen an increase in instances of police brutality.
The American people have been raising their voice against acts of violence by the police online and on the streets.
Terrible idea guys.