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Monday, November 02, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - "Facebook post results in Terre Haute police officer's suspension"

Lisa Trigg reported the story this weekend in the Terre Haute Trib-Star. The story, which links the Facebook post and the THPD social media policy, begins:

A political posting on Facebook by a Terre Haute police officer — one his chief deemed inaccurate — has led to the officer’s suspension.

The disciplinary action taken against Lt. Gary Shook, who was suspended for two days without pay, is a matter now scheduled to go before the police merit board on Nov. 18. Shook’s attorney, Joe Etling, told the Tribune-Star that he believes Shook’s posting about the mayor’s race on his personal Facebook page is protected freedom of speech.

Police Chief John Plasse, a supporter of Mayor Duke Bennett, took issue with his officer’s posting, which the chief said was inaccurate. Plasse acknowledged he told Shook to remove the remarks, which the officer did. Before the Facebook posting was removed, however, someone copied the text and posted it Oct. 18 to the “Mark Bird for Mayor” Facebook site, where it can be read.

Shook’s suspension is in keeping with the THPD’s new policy regarding online activity, according to Chief Plasse, who said he could not elaborate given that the disciplinary action is pending before the merit board. He cited the same in declining a Tribune-Star request for copies of the documents related to Shook’s suspension.

Prior to Shook’s posting, THPD adopted a “Use of Electronic Social Media” policy that cautions personnel against disclosing online the nature of their employment, for safety and security reasons. However, several THPD employees do reference their employment on their Facebook pages, including posting police and department-related photos and logos.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 2, 2015 09:17 AM
Posted to Indiana Government