Detroit cops banned from posting crime photos to Facebook

Mar 18, 2011

Detroit police officers are being told to exercise caution when it comes to social media.

Police have to follow the Department's Code of Conduct policy, which forbids officers to share transcripts, records or photos tied to an ongoing investigation, but the current police doesn't explicitly discuss sharing those items on social media.

That will soon change  after a Detroit police officer posted a crime-scene photo to his personal Facebook account last month.

Sergeant Erin Stephens, a police spokesperson, says she’s not sure what effect the Facebook photo will have on the current investigation, "but I know that we want to prevent any future postings so we’re not in a situation again where we compromise a case."

The officer who posted the photo to Facebook is under investigation.

The Detroit News reports the Department issued a directive advising officers to use discretion when posting to Facebook or Twitter:

"When using social media, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc. department members shall be mindful that their … postings become part of the worldwide electronic domain," the March 4 directive read.

"Therefore, adherence to the Detroit Police Department's Code of Conduct policy is required when utilizing social media.