Social media policy in law enforcement is a hot topic and well it should be. No one can or should dispute that the importance of sound policy, and the need to guide law officers in proper behavior and procedure online, is huge. Just when you’re getting a handle on the elements of a good social media communication policy, and you’re thinking your social media investigations need to be covered by policy as well... If you’re vetting potential new officers on the Internet, you’ll need a third policy for cyber-vetting of new recruits too. I’m no HR professional, but the legal ramifications in this area could be gigantic. This is an overview of some important considerations for all three social media policies.
Slightly less than a year ago, I wrote for the first time on social media policy in law enforcement. Much of what should be in a law enforcement social media policy (copyright, fair use, truthfulness, and the like as covered in the original article) is in every good social media policy. I especially like the policies of the Air Force, IBM, and Intel. But while that’s true, there are several areas that are unique to law enforcement. These were also covered in my original article. Here, I offer here a couple of new insights.
I. Communication Policy / General Use
I have added two items (numbers eight and nine) to the list of areas unique to law enforcement since writing the original article, but haven’t changed the rest.
1. Integrity. Perhaps the most important part of everything a law enforcement agency does online or elsewhere is integrity. Agency participants in social media should be reminded that integrity is the essential ingredient to using social media ethically. Agency employees should, therefore, be honest in their use of social media and maintain high regard for the public interest. All information disseminated should be absolutely accurate.
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By: Lauri Stevens