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  1. #1
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    Social Networking Sites

    My department is looking to implement a policy regarding the use of Social Networking sites off duty. Just wondering if any departments already have this policy in effect if so what are the restrictions on it.

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    Errr....are you trying to say they are wanting to dictate what you can and can't do off-duty...?

    Not sure if that is legal or not.....because what's next? No drinking in the bars in the County...? No eating fast food joints in the County...? No shopping at Wal-Mart..?

    I'd be looking for a new agency....but that's just me....

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    Just a guess, but I imagine that the agency could rightly require that images on a person's personal space not contain uniforms, insignia or other visual cues about their agency, and restrict posting of information about activities undertaken while on duty, even though it is a personal site - personal, maybe, but clearly not private.

    I'm not a LEO, but I can certainly see the value in providing training on the potential benefits and risks of social networking sites - clearly they can be used as another intelligence source, and the potential pitfalls of their use by members of the law enforcement community.
    Last edited by GoodWitness; 01-04-2010 at 05:54 PM. Reason: Grammar

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    My agency doesn't regulate what we do off duty, but I look at it like this; EVERYONE can search on these social networking sites. If the good guys can find you on the internet, so can the bad guys. And if you put on there that you're a cop, and you want to do some sort of under cover or plain clothes work, you could be putting not only yourself, but your family and friends in harm's way.

    I used to have a facebook account, but I deleted it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoodWitness View Post
    Just a guess, but I imagine that the agency could rightly require that images on a person's personal space not contain uniforms, insignia or other visual cues about their agency, and restrict posting of information about activities undertaken while on duty, even though it is a personal site - personal, maybe, but clearly not private .
    I could see that...to a point...like not being an idiot and drinking beer in uniform.... or being stupid in uniform...and posting the pics. But what if you want to post a pic of you and your buddies all in Dress Uniforms during Police Week....or when you are playing softball and are in a Dept. t-shirt...? See what I am getting at....?

    From there.... what are they going to restrict next...?

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    Our agency prohibits us to fill in where we work and no uniform, on duty pictures, or dept issues equipment is allowed. Also expect everything typed to be brought up in court someday. IE private messages are your friend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mallninja View Post
    Our agency prohibits us to fill in where we work and no uniform, on duty pictures, or dept issues equipment is allowed. Also expect everything typed to be brought up in court someday. IE private messages are your friend.
    That's crazy to restrict OFF-DUTY conduct like that. Like I said above, I could see no pics in uniform drinking or screwing around....

    But what if you and 3-4 your buddies went to Police Week in DC (a very doable thing for you since you are in NJ) and wanted to post pics of your trip??

    What if you were at one of those Agency manditory fun days and wanted to post pics of you and your partners playing softball/volleyball? Or a pic in your uniform to show your military buddies in other States...? I just don't get it....but maybe thats me....

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    I have a facebook now, but plan to take it down before I begin applying. Nothing to hide, just one less thing to go over during the hiring process..
    Next Generation Officer

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    Quote Originally Posted by NextGenOfc View Post
    I have a facebook now, but plan to take it down before I begin applying. Nothing to hide, just one less thing to go over during the hiring process..
    I am just curious why? Is it like a security issue or do depts. just not like facebook?
    Entered Academy: 08/2010 Graduated Academy: 12/20/2010 Career Search: 12/20/2010 - Present Never doubt. Never look back. Never question what you have done. Live with conviction and honor.

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    I'm friends with an officer on facebook. The only pics of him in uniform are from his swearing in. He got a little mad at a co-worker of mine for tagging him in a newspaper photo of him in action during a "public disturbance".

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    I've got it. I just watch what I post....and make sure i know who all my friends are.

    Hell, one can go through and only allow certain people to see certain pics now....plus all kinds of other security..... Most folks are just too lazy to do it...

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    Quote Originally Posted by NextGenOfc View Post
    I have a facebook now, but plan to take it down before I begin applying. Nothing to hide, just one less thing to go over during the hiring process..
    I was asked about that in a background once. I'm glad I'm old enough to not have got into that sort of thing and never started. Now I'm down that path I'm N-E-V-E-R going to have one.

    One less thing to scrutinize.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCV-Sop View Post
    I was asked about that in a background once. I'm glad I'm old enough to not have got into that sort of thing and never started. Now I'm down that path I'm N-E-V-E-R going to have one.

    One less thing to scrutinize.
    I have it to keep my family updated (since I am like 5000 miles away) and let them see pics of where I am at.....and stuff like that.

    Have I used FB during backgrounds....? You bet...

    I don't mind (if the person is of age) is having a beer/drink in pics....but when somene is puffing on a bong....or talks about driving drunk/doing stupid stuff/or posting pics of them doing said stupid stuff.....you've just put yourself in a hole.... a real big one.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bearcat357 View Post
    I have it to keep my family updated (since I am like 5000 miles away) and let them see pics of where I am at.....and stuff like that.

    Have I used FB during backgrounds....? You bet...

    I don't mind (if the person is of age) is having a beer/drink in pics....but when somene is puffing on a bong....or talks about driving drunk/doing stupid stuff/or posting pics of them doing said stupid stuff.....you've just put yourself in a hole.... a real big one.....
    If I may Officer, would a facebook adversely affect me in the future during a background?
    Entered Academy: 08/2010 Graduated Academy: 12/20/2010 Career Search: 12/20/2010 - Present Never doubt. Never look back. Never question what you have done. Live with conviction and honor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bearcat357 View Post
    That's crazy to restrict OFF-DUTY conduct like that. Like I said above, I could see no pics in uniform drinking or screwing around....

    But what if you and 3-4 your buddies went to Police Week in DC (a very doable thing for you since you are in NJ) and wanted to post pics of your trip??

    What if you were at one of those Agency manditory fun days and wanted to post pics of you and your partners playing softball/volleyball? Or a pic in your uniform to show your military buddies in other States...? I just don't get it....but maybe thats me....
    bearcat, most agencies i know of in california have policies regarding tarnishing the image of the dept with off duty behavior (which extends to the internet). there is a great article in PORAC that i'll post when i can regarding defense attorneys using an officer's facebook content in court for purposes of destroying credibility

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    Quote Originally Posted by thecountrylife View Post
    If I may Officer, would a facebook adversely affect me in the future during a background?
    To add to that question, in what way could FB help my background?

    Backgrounds already asks everything bad they want to know about you. They investigate to confirm what they asked, and find stuff they didn't ask.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCV-Sop View Post
    To add to that question, in what way could FB help my background?

    Backgrounds already asks everything bad they want to know about you. They investigate to confirm what they asked, and find stuff they didn't ask.
    I can't actually answer your question since I'm not a sworn LEO, but I personally think of my facebook as a "digital resume" since I know most prospective employers will see it. I am careful about who my friends are and what pictures are public (even the private ones aren't that bad). In addition, my education and work info on FB is pretty detailed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCV-Sop View Post
    To add to that question, in what way could FB help my background?

    Backgrounds already asks everything bad they want to know about you. They investigate to confirm what they asked, and find stuff they didn't ask.
    social networking sites can only hurt you. get off if you're anticipating going through a BI

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    Quote Originally Posted by thecountrylife View Post
    If I may Officer, would a facebook adversely affect me in the future during a background?
    Depends.... You got pics of you smoking dope....drinking underage.....talking about driving drunk....talking about getting loaded on illegal drugs....?

    Then yeah...it can hurt you badly...

    I have my Mom on my site to keep in touch with her...along with a lot of other relatives....some real Holy Rollers.....

    I look at it like this.... If I won't say it to my Mom in person......or have her see me acting like an idiot.... it doesn't need posted....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Madball View Post
    bearcat, most agencies i know of in california have policies regarding tarnishing the image of the dept with off duty behavior (which extends to the internet). there is a great article in PORAC that i'll post when i can regarding defense attorneys using an officer's facebook content in court for purposes of destroying credibility
    And I do understand the image thing....don't get me wrong. I just can't see how they can tell you not to post stuff when you aren't tarnishing the image like at Police Week, a funeral, or an athletic/even that the agency sponsors or has knowledge of you being involved with their name....

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    My Facebook is pretty much clean. The worst thing on it is my profanity, which I can always cut back on.

    I've set up "lists" of people depending on how well I know them. Only the people I know best can see my full profile (phone numbers, email, photos of me, etc). There aren't any photos of me doing bad things either, but I just don't want people being able to see them unless I really know them.

    So the only way anyone could see a photo tagged of me is if they are my friend on facebook and if I've listed them as trustworthy enough. I've got a bunch of 'friends' who I really only keep either because I'm getting to know them or they might be a good networking opportunity. But for those I don't really know, they might as well be invisible because they can only post on my wall, send me messages and chat with me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bearcat357 View Post
    Depends.... You got pics of you smoking dope....drinking underage.....talking about driving drunk....talking about getting loaded on illegal drugs....?

    Then yeah...it can hurt you badly...

    I have my Mom on my site to keep in touch with her...along with a lot of other relatives....some real Holy Rollers.....

    I look at it like this.... If I won't say it to my Mom in person......or have her see me acting like an idiot.... it doesn't need posted....
    Oh gosh no the only think about driving drunk is my usual holiday post about don't drink and drive. I try and keep my profile clean since I have young family members that can see it as well as any department I may hire on with in the future may see it as well.

    I apologize for being inquisitive but, what about friends or people who have added you, can they affect it if an investigator is as thorough as you?
    Entered Academy: 08/2010 Graduated Academy: 12/20/2010 Career Search: 12/20/2010 - Present Never doubt. Never look back. Never question what you have done. Live with conviction and honor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bearcat357 View Post
    I could see that...to a point...like not being an idiot and drinking beer in uniform.... or being stupid in uniform...and posting the pics. But what if you want to post a pic of you and your buddies all in Dress Uniforms during Police Week....or when you are playing softball and are in a Dept. t-shirt...? See what I am getting at....?

    From there.... what are they going to restrict next...?
    ...and one of your buddies finds himself doing some OC work and somehow gets tagged in the photo and his subject finds him in your photos in his dress uniform...

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    I only add people that I absolutely know. I don't add friends of friends or people I "kinda" know, or someone that I may have bumped into and talked to for a whole 3 minutes once.

    I've been on Facebook for about 2 years and only have 99 friends.

    I LOL at people who have 500, or even 1000+ friends. Can't possibly know that many people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoodWitness View Post
    ...and one of your buddies finds himself doing some OC work and somehow gets tagged in the photo and his subject finds him in your photos in his dress uniform...
    Something you have to watch out for..... which I do.....and I only allow folks I know as friends....plus keep my pics locked for friends only.....

    I've got probably 25-30 (At least) LEOs on mine....which include guys/gals on the road, in Detective slots, working T/F's, working for DDC (MO Patrols IA), FAMs, DUSMS, ATFE, Etc.....all have pics up as well.....

    so...

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