Our 2-day on-site training devotes a fair amount of time to policy issues: investigative ethics applied online, undercover work, deconfliction, and employee stress management. However, while we talked about the need for policy, we didn’t have a model to offer.
Well, now we do! In the “White Papers” section of our Web site, you’ll now find three separate model policies: social networking investigations, official agency communication, and employee off-duty use.
Why 3 policies?
Law enforcement presence online isn’t just about gathering evidence. It’s also about ensuring that employees represent themselves and their agencies as professionals at all times (including not conducting investigations via their personal accounts). Also, just as agencies simultaneously conduct investigations and community relations in their communities, they should at least consider doing the same online.
The three policies complement each other, and as Todd is quoted in our press release, they’re meant to minimize the risk and maximize the reward of an online presence. They also fill a gap: while many policies are available from private companies, few are published by law enforcement agencies.
What the policies cover
The “Investigative Use of Social Networking” policy provides for:
- Professional online conduct
- Investigation preparation
- Undercover work
- Legal issues
- Employee stress management
The “Agency Official Use of Social Networking” policy discusses:
- Social media tools
- Strategy for use
- Communicating on the agency’s behalf
- Restrictions on use
- Handling requests from media and general public
The “Employee Off-Duty Use of Social Networking” policy includes:
- Employee self-identification as a police officer
- Confidential and sensitive information
- Legal requirements
- Disciplinary action
Because these are model policies, be sure to run them through administrators and department or other legal staff before you implement them, as state or jurisdictional laws may need to be specifically addressed.
Who will benefit?
We timed these policies’ release during the week of the ICAC Conference in Jacksonville, FL, where Todd is exhibiting. Now, we know ICAC investigators are well-versed in online investigation and thus policy – but we also know that their investigations can take them into jurisdictions where other detectives are not familiar with online work, undercover or otherwise.
So whether you’re an investigator whose agency needs social networking policies, or you know of investigators who do, please feel free to pass these along. You can refer others to the policy page using this address:
And if you have any questions, please let us know at info (at) veresoftware (dot) com !