4 ways officers can stay safe on Facebook
At this year’s SMILE Conference, Officer Nathan Steele of the West Sacramento Police Department addressed the struggles officers have with technology ethics
Do police give up a part of their personal lives the moment they are sworn in as law enforcement officers? While it may always have been that way, it’s a question departments are asking themselves frequently as officers take to Facebook and Twitter, posting comments and pictures about the things they’re doing on and off duty.
Unfortunately, as we’ve seen, a single ill-mannered picture or post can tarnish an officer’s reputation, and consequently the reputation of an entire department.
At this year’s Social Media and the Internet in Law Enforcement (SMILE) Conference, Officer Nathan Steele of the West Sacramento Police Department addressed the struggles officers have with technology ethics — and how to take proactive steps to keep your department out of trouble with social media.
1.) Stay on Top of Newest Technology
2.) Train for Unethical Use
In today’s world, Steele said, the moment you share a photo by sending it to someone or posting it to your Facebook, you’ve lost all control. It is no secret that cops and civilians don’t share the same sense of humor. DON’T SHARE TROPHY PHOTOS.
3.) Develop a Policy
• Outline what is acceptable and what is not to the members of your department
4.) Create a Training Plan
In addition, don’t present the training plan like it’s another rule. Present it by stating, “I’m trying to keep you out of trouble” as opposed to “You aren’t allowed to use this.”
“Cleaning out a friend’s locker was the most gut-wrenching experience I’ve ever had — and for saying something stupid,” Steele said, of a colleague and friend let go from his department.
“If we can prevent one officer from making these kinds of mistakes, than it’s worth it.”
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