Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has laid down the law on what his 35,000-strong force can post on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.
According to a memo obtained by the New York Daily News, Mr. Kelly handed down the iron-fisted rules in a three page announcement declaring that neighborhood precincts can no longer create new profiles on social media platforms. He also told cops that they could no longer “disclose or allude” to their rank and must stop from posting pictures of themselves in their uniforms unless they’re at an official ceremony.
“Members of the service utilizing personal social media sites are to exercise good judgement and demonstrate the same degree of professionalism expected of them while performing their official duties,” the order reads as scooped by the NYDN.
The NYPD is well aware of just how damning online evidence can be. The department has made a recent push into social media surveillance, regularly using it to tamp down on illicit gun activity in Brooklyn. Recently, however, Mr. Kelly’s officers have been the one caught red-handed on social networks. A rash of stories have exposed staffers as bigots for spewing vitriolic comments on Twitter and Facebook.
Back in August, 17 officers faced discipline for posting racially charged comments regarding participants at the 2011 West Indian American Day Parade by referring to them as “savages” and “animals.”
A police training expert labeled Mr. Kelly’s rules as “unauthorized censorship” to the Daily News, but we like to think of it as a necessary evil.