11.00.435    SOCIAL NETWORKING

This policy is intended to address issues associated with employee use of social networking sites and to provide guidelines for the regulation and balancing of employee speech and expression with the needs of the Department.

Nothing in this policy is intended to prohibit or infringe upon any communication, speech or expression that is protected or privileged under law.  This includes speech and expression protected under state or federal constitutions as well as labor or other applicable laws.

Employees are encouraged to consult with their supervisor regarding any questions arising from the application or potential application of this policy.

APPLICABILITY

This policy applies to all forms of communication including but not limited to film, video, print media, public speech, use of all Internet services, including the World Wide Web, e-mail, file transfer, remote computer access, news services, social networking, social media, instant messaging, texting, blogs, forums, video and other file-sharing sites.

POLICY

Due to the nature of the work and influence associated with the law enforcement profession, it is necessary that employees of this department be aware that their speech and expression may be subject to reasonable limitations.  To achieve its mission and efficiently provide service to the public, the Bellevue Police Department will carefully balance the individual employee's rights against the Department's needs and interests.
 
SAFETY

Employees should consider carefully the implications of their speech or any other form of expression when communicating using any forum, including the internet.  Speech and expression that negatively affects the safety of Department employees, such as posting personal information in a public forum, can result in compromising an employee's home address or family ties.  Employees should therefore be mindful when posting personal information on any public forum or medium that could reasonably be expected to compromise the safety or privacy of any employee, an employee's family or associates. 

PROHIBITED SPEECH, EXPRESSION AND CONDUCT

To meet the Department's safety, performance and public-interest needs, publishing or posting of any of the following information may result in discipline:

(a) Speech or expression made pursuant to an official duty that tends to compromise or damage the mission, function, reputation or professionalism of the Department or its employees.

(b) Speech or expression that could reasonably be foreseen as creating a negative impact on the credibility of the employee as a witness.  For example, publishing statements or expressions in a form that glorifies or encourages the dishonesty of Department employees or other law enforcement employees, statements or expressions that glorifies or encourages unlawful discrimination or illegal behavior.

(c) Speech or expression of any form that could reasonably be foreseen as creating a negative impact on the safety of the employees of the Department.  For example, publishing a statement in any form that provides specific details as to how and when prisoner transportations are made could reasonably be foreseen as potentially jeopardizing employees by informing criminals of details that could facilitate an escape or attempted escape.

(d) Unauthorized use or disclosure, through whatever means, of confidential information (including photographs, video or other recordings) obtained as a result of employment with the Department.