Recently, the Philadelphia Police Department placed 72 officers on desk duty based on an ongoing investigation into racist and other offensive Facebook posts by the police officers. The PPD has stated that they expect to fire "dozens" of these officers.
Public safety officers do not have a "First Amendment Right" to post whatever they want on personal social media accounts. You must expect that your department can and will take disciplinary action for proven instances of inappropriate posts, forwarded posts, comments, photos, etc.
a new investigative news story
was published detailing social media posts of purported active and retired Customs and Border Patrol agents who posted racist, misogynistic and material calling for violent acts against other people. Allegedly, they participated in a "private" Facebook group. Their posts were shared outside of the "private" group and now those agents are facing public humiliation, will likely face discipline, and, unfortunately, their alleged actions will be the focus of public and media attention in the coming weeks.
We are confident that our members are not displaying this type of social media behavior but it is worth a reminder.
We want to make it clear: we will not condone or defend any speech or social media activity that is racist, homophobic, misogynistic, attacks religions, promotes the violation of anyone's civil rights, advocates violence, or any other inappropriate content. We will forcefully speak out against those who engage in this behavior. It's that simple.
Posting on the internet or one's social media accounts takes only seconds and just one "send" click. Those seconds can be the difference between holding a job and being reprimanded. Please think before posting any content that could otherwise jeopardize your reputation or your department's. Before posting, sharing, or "retweeting" content, think to yourself "would I be comfortable with the fact that my family, neighbors, friends, and millions of people could potentially read this?"
Remember, nothing is ever really "private" on social media, even when posting in secret, private, or closed groups.
If you wouldn't say it in a uniform at a press conference, don't post it on the internet.