MIDDLETOWN >> State police have issued a wide-ranging policy on tattoos and social media, warning staff that “speech, on or off duty, ma
By Andy Thibault, firstname.lastname@example.org,, @cooljustice on Twitter
POSTED: 09/05/13, 9:35 AM EDT | UPDATED: 9 HRS AGO
MIDDLETOWN >> State police have issued a wide-ranging policy on tattoos and social media, warning staff that “speech, on or off duty, made pursuant to their official duties, is not protected speech and may form the basis for discipline.”
The department also distributed a “grandfather waiver” for tattoos, branding and body art visible while in uniform, while banning additional tattoos or markings.
The commander of the state police, Col. Danny Stebbins, and the department spokesman, Lt. J. Paul Vance, could not be reached for comment. Stebbins issued the directives Wednesday.
Referring to the directives as “news of the weird,” a trooper toldConnecticut Magazine, “It is a good thing the [social media policy] wasn’t in place when [Stebbins] was in New Orleans.”
Stebbins took heat in March after speaking at a police conference in New Orleans about the Newtown school massacre. Legislators complained that they were unable to get information that was disclosed by Stebbins and other high-ranking officers at various conferences. A public report on the December 2012 mass killing is expected sometime this fall.
The Sept. 4, 2013 directives — obtained by Connecticut Magazine — cite various social media including blogs and social networking sites likeFacebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Reddit, Flickr and Digg.
Troopers and staff members of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection are banned from using social media on duty: “any proof that this has occurred on duty may result in discipline.”
“Personnel are free to express themselves as private citizens on social media and networking sites to the degree that their speech is not detrimental to DESPP, does not impair the work of DESPP, damage the reputation of another, disparage, embarrass or otherwise discredit DESPP, its personnel of any of its units or functions,” the directive states. “ … Personnel that may be identified as employees may have no reasonable expectation of privacy when social networking online … ”
Staff members were also advised that “their activities on social networking web pages and/or media may impact their options for future specialized assignments [e.g., undercover or covert operations]. Existing tattoos need not be removed, but “extremist, indecent, sexist or racist” tattoos are banned.
See on www.nhregister.com