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Seattle Chief Disciplines Officers Over Social Media Posts

February 09, 2015  | 

Seattle police officers have been put on notice: Be careful what you post on social media.

Twice within the past week, Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole has put officers on paid leave after inflammatory comments appeared under their names on Facebook and Twitter.

The latest action was announced in a departmentwide email Friday night, only hours after the disclosure of tweets in which a veteran officer ranted about race, gays, President Obama and other subjects, the Seattle Times reports.

O'Toole's orders signal that the former Boston police commissioner will move swiftly when she sees behavior that threatens the federally mandated reform effort she inherited when she became Seattle's chief in June. The department is under a court-ordered consent decree to curb excessive force and biased policing.

"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," O'Toole said in the Friday night email. "I will continue to take decisive action against this type of behavior. I expect all SPD members to demonstrate professionalism, common sense and good judgment."

Comments (5)

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

kevCopAz @ 2/9/2015 4:32 PM

I m in the middle on this, this newer generation of Cops (like everyone) feel this need to post things on face book etc that only makes them look and!. On the other hand if they don't represent themselves as cops then why don't they have the freedom of speech that others have? Be prepared to see this all the time with the younger cops. "all about me" generation is bringing it down on themselves. Sad.

Mac @ 2/10/2015 7:31 AM

These guys should know better than to post this stuff on Facebook.....this kind of material is best posted on anonymous blogs and forums.

S.S. @ 2/10/2015 9:25 AM

Just use some common sense. A little common sense goes a long way.

Greg @ 2/11/2015 3:42 AM

If they don't identify themselves as police, there should be no problem. The one listed comment in the article: "On the Facebook account of Whitlatch, the officer involved in the golf-club arrest, last summer’s posting referred to “black peoples (sic) paranoia” in assuming whites are “out to get them,” and cited the Ferguson upheaval."

Really, daring to say there is a paranoia whites and police are out to get them? Where didn't we see that, and continue to hear about it daily about evil police wanting to kill young black mails, "Don't shoot me bro'" "Hand Up" etc. etc. etc. Just where is this incorrect?

kevCopAz @ 7/25/2015 10:07 AM

Granted, new "web age cops" should learn to stay off Face book etc, just another look at me thing. Grow up. On the other hand the choice of this Chief was a joke, she is about as qualified to be a real cop (never was, only a "boss") as Obama. I hope she is as "decisive" on fighting crime as kissing up to DOJ

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