Police Recruits Screened on Facebook

Jason Morris

Come on guys, don’t you read our blog? BAD IDEA!!  Just call your counterparts in Bozeman, Montana and ask them how embarrassing it was when that story hit the news.

Police recruits screened for digital dirt on Facebook, etc.

By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY

Law enforcement agencies are digging deep into the social media accounts of applicants, requesting that candidates sign waivers allowing investigators access to their Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter and other personal spaces.

Some agencies are demanding that applicants provide private passwords, Internet pseudonyms, text messages and e-mail logs as part of an expanding vetting process for public safety jobs.

More than a third of police agencies review applicants’ social media activity during background checks, according to the first report on agencies’ social media use by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the largest group of police executives. The report out last month surveyed 728 agencies.

“As more and more people join these networks, their activities on these sites become an intrinsic part of any background check we do,” said Laurel, Md., Police Chief David Crawford.

Privacy advocates say some background investigations, including requests for text message and e-mail logs, may go too far.

“I’m very uneasy about this,” says Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “Where does it all stop?”

During the IACP’s conference last month in Orlando, about 100 chiefs and other law enforcement officials who attended sessions on vetting applicants’ social media use said they either request waivers and other personal information from applicants or are developing policies to do so.

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Jason Morris

President & Chief Operating Officer at EmployeeScreenIQ
A veteran screening and risk management professional, Jason Morris founded EmployeeScreenIQ in 1999 and acts as the company’s chief operating officer and president. Morris is a frequent speaker delivering captivating, interactive discussions on background checks, global screening, recruitment and staffing. He educates audiences in best practice initiatives as they relate to organizational employment screening programs. Morris has been quoted in numerous business and industry publications including The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC.com, USA Today, New York Times, among others. He is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona and Nevada.
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  • I’m still of the mindset that this is wrong. And yes indeed, just ask Bozeman how well this practice went over – it’s still good blog humor to this day. LOL.

    But seriously, I think these agencies need to have more faith in their recruitment process/practices and develop their internal systems to flag more issues – more so than worrying about social media outlets.

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