Description: Social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter can be valuable assets for law enforcement agencies, helping them alert the public, seek information about crimes and gather evidence about the backgrounds of criminal suspects.
Date: April 6, 2011
Most social media policies try to balance a police department’s interests against First Amendment protections for the officers. Many include prohibitions against posting any statements that could discredit or reflect badly on a department, that illustrate reckless behavior or that disparage people based on race, religion or sexual orientation. Posting crime scene photos or other evidence from criminal cases online is also prohibited by most policies.
Others go further. Albuquerque’s policy, for example, prohibits officers from identifying themselves as employees of the Police Department or posting photos of departmental insignia — badges, uniforms, cruisers — without permission. And a recent policy by the Police Department in Pueblo, Colo., bans gossiping online with outsiders about department affairs.
Police officials say that the courts have generally upheld restrictions on the speech of government employees when the speech is job related. Read rest of story
Questions for discussion:
- What are the advantages of using social nertworks to provide policing services?
- What are the disadvantages of using social nertworks to provide policing services?