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Social Networking Policies: Just Another Policy?

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 77 Issue: 5 Dated: May 2010 Pages: 80-82
Eric P. Daigle
Date Published
May 2010
3 pages
This article discusses the issue of social networking policy in law enforcement agencies across the United States.
The author of this article asks the question "What conduct should be governed in a social networking policy?" He states that the policy should include: 1) ensuring that officers do not indicate their agency affiliation when networking; 2) a prohibition against posting photographs taken on department property and/or while in uniform; 3) ensuring that officers do not utilize social networking sites during office-duty time, and that any proof that this has occurred on duty and/or while using department computers will result in discipline; 4) a prohibition on the posting of confidential and sensitive information along with photographs of ongoing criminal or administrative investigations; and 5) advising officers that an appropriate level of professionalism should be followed so as not to compromise the mission and function of the agency. The author also notes that while the policy should cover new applicants to law enforcement employments, officers currently employed and using social networking sites should also be apprised of the policy. Several cases are discussed as examples of problems that law enforcement agencies can encounter when officers use social networking sites, especially while on-duty. 3 notes