Monday, February 23, 2015

Seattle Police Department's New Social Media Policy

Last Friday, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) unveiled a new social media policy. The policy was announced three weeks after two SPD officers were placed on paid leave due to comments on their private Twitter and Facebook accounts. Prior to the policy change, the SPD was operating under a 2011 directive that outlined appropriate social media use.

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole told the Seattle Times, "I am particularly disappointed by these incidents because they undermine community trust, the reputation of the SPD and the outstanding work of many professional, hardworking officers." [Quick background: S
ince the DOJ opened an investigation into the SPD in 2011, the SPD has been working to enact federal reforms and regain public trust].

These social media policy changes touch on many issues we have discussed in class. These include how the rise of social media has blurred the line between the public and private lives of public officials and how social media influence public perception (particularly whether the public trust public officials).

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