Sheriff on Social Media Policy: 'Absolutely, it is Necessary' | News
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Almost everyone is connected through social media, such as Twitter or Facebook. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office will soon have a social media policy.
"Absolutely , it is necessary. In fact, we are behind the curve on this," said Sheriff John Rutherford.
Rutherford was scheduled to institute a new policy today, but pulled it at the last minute.
"I don't have any concerns with the language yet; because I did not review it, that's why it was pulled," he said.
The sheriff said all policy changes must be reviewed and approved by the undersheriff and the sheriff, and he just needs to review it.
The growth of social media is so widespread that even law enforcement now use the platforms to fight crime.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office policy will restrict what JSO employees are allowed to say or do on the social media websites.
The policy will become part of their code of conduct.
"We've always had a code of conduct standard, now we have to apply it to this new medium that is out there," he said.
Sheriff Rutherford said the intent is not to tell an off-duty officer what to do on his home computer. Even so, under the policy an off-duty officer may be held accountable if what he or she says is deemed detrimental to the sheriff's office.
"As long as you don't identify yourself as a police officer you can say whatever you want, do whatever you want," said Rutherford.
The policy is even more restrictive when using computers in the sheriff's office.
"Most stations already have a social media policy," said Rutherford.
Fraternal Order of Police President Nelson Cuba said until there's a policy he has no position on the policy.
Cuba said the officers are concerned about the language regarding photographs or other depictions of the uniform, badges and logo.
"I'll wait until the policy is in effect to see how it will impact the officers," said Cuba.