Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly is patrolling the streets of the World Wide Web.
According to the New York Daily News, the commissioner released a list of what the city’s 35,000 officers can and cannot put up on their personal social media sites.
A three-page NYPD memo, obtained by The News, states “Members of the service should be aware that activities on personal social media sites may be used against them to undermine their credibility as members of the department.”
The order also explicitly bans the creation of any online site by precincts or units, as well warning officers “not to disclose or allude to their status as members of the department.”
Police officers will also be prohibited from posting photos of themselves in uniform, unless at an official ceremony, the News reported.
The memo states that any officers caught violating the policy will face disciplinary action, including termination.
Those working in the NYPD have mixed reactions to the memo.
Edward Mullins, head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, supports the order telling The News that, “[The NYPD] have to be held to a higher standard.”
Robert Gonzelez, a police training expert at John Jay College, told The News he disagreed with the memo, calling it an example of “unauthorized censorship,” and saying that, “members of the NYPD are proud public officials and should be authorized to express that right on social media sites without retribution.”
The NYPD is no stranger to controversy when it comes to social media. Seventeen cops were disciplined last year after they were caught posting offensive comments on a Facebook page entitled “No More West Indian Day Detail.” More than 150 comments were posted calling the participants of the annual parade “savages” and “animals.”
The memo comes off the heels of two FDNY employees, including Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano’s son, were caught posting racist tweets. The FDNY is in the process of reviewing its social media guidelines following the controversy.
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