NEW YORK – In the wake of leaks and Internal Affairs probes, NYPD has issued a new strict social media policy for its personnel.
The new policy was issued Feb. 12. It directs officers not to post any information on cases they get from the job that hasn’t been made public — such as photos or videos from crime scenes, the New York Post reported.
In December, NYPD subpoenaed the Twitter data from Post Police Bureau Chief Tina Moore’s account as part of its internal investigation into a crime scene photo Moore posted back in October 2019. The move came less than two weeks after Commissioner Dermot Shea took the reins of the police department.
Moreover, the news of the legal action came a week after the NYPD changed another patrol guide policy to crack down on photos and videos being shared with the press — which led to the suspension of a pair of officers who accessed and shared videos from the dramatic shooting inside a Bronx police station on Feb. 9.
Furthermore, it’s noteworthy that Procedure No. 203-32, appears to give the department some added leeway to go after union presidents if they choose, according to the Post.
The various NYPD union heads have historically been given a bit more rope to speak out in the media to push their policy agenda. However, one leader’s recent declaration of war on Mayor Bill de Blasio got the attention of the Internal Affairs Bureau.
Ed Mullins, the Sergeants Benevolent Association’s president and a fierce adversary of the mayor, is facing an internal probe over whether his tweets or other bombastic statements violated department policy.
The recent order says officers should not engage in any “manipulating of discourteous or disrespectful remarks, in any form, regarding another person’s ethnicity, race, religion, gender, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, and/or disability.”
“Members of the service are reminded that they are strictly accountable for their conduct at all times, inside or outside of New York City, whether on or off duty, including the use of personal social media account,” the policy adds.
So, is this a tactic to reign in the voice of NYPD’s union reps? According to the report, they are still in the “honeymoon” phase with Commissioner Shea.
His predecessor, James O’Neill, was often the target of harsh criticism.
In August of 2019, the PBA, which represents nearly 25,000 New York cops, voted in its delegate assembly to disapprove of O’Neill and de Blasio just weeks after the firing of Officer Daniel Pantaleo.
Obvious restrictions, including not to contact witnesses, suspects, attorneys or minors they’ve interacted with during the duties as police officers, were also laid out for the members, the Post reported.
Additionally, police personnel cannot use anything in their handles that would identify their job or detail, such as “@nypd_johndoe, @53pct_janedeo” and prohibits cops from posting any photos, with prior approval, of themselves or others on the force in uniform or with their ID, patches or badges, the document reads.