Police Departments’ Implementation of Social Media Policies

Galaviz, Jason
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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)
Social Media is a major part of most people’s lives. It has become more popular over the years and continues to flourish through the palms of hands around the world. What people posts on social media can be a good conversation starter at the dinner table or even at their place of employment? Police administrators and supervisors should be aware of what is being shared on social media. These Tweets, Posts, Snapchats, Instagram posts, Facebook posts and other forms of social media communications could have a general negative affect on police agencies and how the public views them. These are just a few of the questions and problems that will be addressed in this paper. Police departments should have a social media policy for all law enforcement employees due to some potential issues that may arise. Major concerns for law enforcement and social media include the revelation of sensitive information, sexually explicit communications, defamatory material, communications derogatory of, or offensive to protected classes of individuals, social media communications, and impeachment of police witnesses (IACP, 2010). Police departments are hiring more and more millennials each day. Administration needs to keep up with the impact that social media has on these officers and the community who views these posts. Law enforcement agencies should create and implement social media usage policies to maintain order and scrutinize officers and employees use of these types of media communications, while keeping the employees right to free speech in mind. The basis of this policy and its implementation will protect the agency from discredit and negative media attention, as well as the employee.
Police and Mass Media, Social Media, Police--Community Relations