5 great ways to destroy your police career on social media

If you’re on the hunt for creative way to toss away that great career in law enforcement, I’ve got the answer for you: Be irresponsible and reckless in our use of social media

Dr. Richard Weinblatt

Weinblatt’s Tips

with Dr. Richard Weinblatt

You’ve survived years of schooling and training, along with a few good years of law enforcement service.

If you’re on the hunt for creative way to toss away that great career in law enforcement, I’ve got the answer for you: Be irresponsible and reckless in your use of social media.

Yes, you too can flush all that prestige and the honor of wearing the badge — not to mention the little issue of being able to afford to shelter and feed you and your family — just by a few well-placed posts on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, or other social media account.

If you want out of that police department or sheriff’s department job, I can almost guarantee that following the below steps will ensure that you can enjoy a life of leisure as a gainfully unemployed former law enforcement officer.

This is also good advice for those pre-service individuals seeking to destroy their career before it even gets off the ground. Quite conveniently for you, many hiring law enforcement agencies look closely at prospective hires’ social media sites in a bid to ascertain character and suitability for a judgment-oriented career in public safety.

The below examples will certainly make your need to exercise good judgment abundantly clear.

1. Contravene Confidentiality
As a law enforcement professional, you are trusted by your employer and have a duty to protect the confidentiality of information you obtain while serving your community. If you are bent on destroying that confidentiality, then by all means, do post pictures of victims of gruesome vehicle crashes on Instagram and release that detailed confidential source information in 140 descriptive characters on Twitters.

2. Bash your Boss
Be a die-hard First Amendment Free Speecher and air your feelings about your sergeant or lieutenant on your zero-privacy-settings Facebook page. Bash your boss by name. Use a picture. That’s sure to win him or her over to your point of view. Go even further and draw obscene objects on their posted picture.

3. Pornographic Pictures
While you’re on your combustible career crash, be sure to ride the wave of pornographic pictures that are all the rage on Instagram and Tumblr. Better yet, be sure to have parts of your official uniform visible hanging off of you with special attention to your department’s insignia (patch or badge – your choice) or your marked unit clearly visible in the photo. Throw in a departmentally owned weapon or two to get more bang for your buck.

4. Drugs and Alcohol
So, maybe you’re not the type to flaunt your nude or semi naked body on social media. Another variation would be the open use of your favorite illicit drug in Facebook pictures. Be sure your face is visible as you use your chosen method of ingesting that drug and go that extra mile of identifying yourself as a law enforcer.

If drugs aren’t your thing, take heart as drinking can also leave your career in ruins. Drunken behavior is always noticed by law enforcement agency chief executives, so be outrageous in your actions. Heck, have some underage folks drinking with you in the picture for some real impact. For the icing on the cake, leave that evidence tag attached from when you swiped it with the agency’s tag clearly displayed in the photo.

5. Racist Rants
Tired of being politically correct? Then go to the opposite end of the spectrum and put all sorts of racist, sexist, and homophobic rants on your Twitter. Let your inner misogynist be public. The Twitter rants approach has done wonders for Alec Baldwin’s image and it can certainly have an effect on yours with your department. Defense attorneys particularly appreciate when they discover any prejudicial or sexist attitudes that you have on display on social media and use them in court and publicly to impeach your credibility.

Make It Count
Whatever method or methods above that you pursue in the destruction of your career, be sure to do it while on duty. Use the agency’s smartphone or computer, and have all of your social media privacy settings on open to the public. You should at least have the maligning missives go through the agency’s server. That will certainly give the administration some good grounds upon which to go after you.

In all seriousness though, contrary to the above examples of what NOT to do, responsible use of your social media is the route to go in the public safety field, as well as all other careers. Eschewing these websites altogether is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I don’t advocate going without social media — I favor controlled usage of them.

Social media is a tool much like your firearm (I’ve opened up Pandora ’s Box with that analogy). It can be used to further your law enforcement career, as well as investigative and community relations duties. It can also be used to destroy your chosen career path. You control its use and a professional approach is a win for you, your employer, and the community you represent and serve.


Local cops, kids bond over library storytime

Detective Douglas Fontana reads to kids at the library
Detective Douglas Fontana reads to kids at the library

Thibodaux kids have the right to remain entertained.

The Thibodaux Police Department partnered with the Thibodaux Library to have officers read stories to kids at least twice a month.

Detective Douglas Fontana, who read stories Monday evening, said the program started about three months ago as a way for officers to get more involved in the community.

“It really gives us a chance to expand and do things we normally wouldn’t do,” he said.

Fontana said his favorite stories are the ones that get kids moving and interacting with him and one another.

During one of his stories Monday, Fontana asked his audience to jump like rabbits and make bird sounds.

Fontana said he likes being involved in the program because he has two children and believes it’s important to get kids excited about learning.

“They’re tomorrow,” he said.

Fontana said the effort also makes kids more comfortable around officers.

“It’s important for them to know we’re normal people, we’re mommies and daddies,” he said. “We just want to be able to connect with the community.”

Beth LeBlanc, who manages the library’s children’s area, said the readings have increased in popularity.

LeBlanc said the first reading saw five participants and each now averages 10 or more.

“The kids just go crazy,” she said.

LeBlanc said each meeting has a theme, meant to give kids something new to learn each week. Monday’s theme was “Parents’ Day.”

“We’re trying to teach them, but we want to keep it fun,” she said.

Walter Holsapple, 3, said his favorite part is the stories.

Wesley and Noah Hyatt, both 4, spent the evening hopping like frogs and chirping like birds.

Wesley said he looks up to the police officers who come and read to the group.

“They arrest the bad guys,” he said.

The boys’ mother, Michelle Hyatt, said she brought her sons and their younger sister, Parker, because they enjoy listening to stories.

Hyatt said she was especially interested when she learned the Police Department had gotten involved, and she knew her children would enjoy the readings.

“I just thought it would be a really great experience for them,” she said.

LeBlanc said she hopes the partnership between the Police Department and the library will continue for years to come.

“As long as they’re willing to come and do this, we’ll keep it going,” she said.

To find future story time dates, view the library’s calendar on its website:  www.lafourche.org.

Rachel Warren Staff Writer

A picture’s worth a thousand words…and possible jail time

story image

A picture’s worth a thousand words…and possible jail time

NOTE: Another great collaborative article between the Thibodaux Police Department and Samantha Morgan at NBC33 Baton Rouge.

THIBODAUX, LA (NBC33) – Love can make even the most mature person do crazy things. Unfortunately, technology has created a growing problem among teens and young adults that can have very serious consequences.

“When dealing with kids, they’re sending pictures to each other because they don’t think about the long-term consequences,” David Melancon, Thibodaux Police Department, explained.

“When young people are in relationships, they think they love that person and they are going to be together forever. But when the breakup happens, the other person ends up with compromising photos of you.”

Although sending sexually explicit photos to a significant other is not a problem specific to teens, it is a unique situation that could lead to criminal charges.

Siren Sexting Sailors, after Edward Armitage
Siren Sexting Sailors, after Edward Armitage

“What many people do not know is that an underage girl can snap a picture of herself and send it to someone who is older, and they can be charged with possession of child pornography,” Melancon noted.

“Being ignorant of the juvenile’s age is not a defense. If the officer can prove the person in the picture is not of age, they can be charged.”

It is important to note the individual who receives the photo does not have to be a legal adult to face charges.   “There have been teenagers who have been charged with possession of child pornography, too,” he added.

“No matter your age, if you have pictures of someone underage, you could be charged criminally.”The person who sent the photo is not free from blame. In fact, the juvenile could face a charge just as damaging.

“If an underage teenager or child sends a naked photo of themselves to someone else, they can be charged with distribution or production of child pornography.”

Texting Harajuku

Unfortunately, the result of sexually compromising photos is more likely to end up in the public eye rather than a courtroom.   “Locally, there was a young girl who sent a naked picture of herself to her boyfriend,” Melancon explained.

“She trusted him and believed he would not send it to anyone else.He didn’t, but his friend got hold of his phone and he blasted it out. Then, the people who got it blasted it out, and it eventually ended up on the phone of someone who was at work.

One of the men working there asked what they were looking at, and when they showed him, it was a picture of his daughter.   “The girl fell victim to something she thought was secure and safe,” he continued.

In this case, the individual who distributed the image did so after gaining direct access to the phone. However, in the digital age, everything stored is subject to possible hackers.

“If you have something you don’t want the world to share, you shouldn’t have it on your phone,” Josh Henderson, a computer expert at Computer Heaven in Baton Rouge, said in a past interview with NBC33.

“You can be in the room with somebody, not using [your phone], but if you do not have a password on your phone, they can get in your files, pictures, text, emails, anything like that.”

Español: Logo WiFi Vectorizado

Wi-Fi helps keep your data plan under control, but it can give access to just about anyone, making it easy for someone to find compromising photos and distribute them online. Once the photo is distributed, there’s a far more dangerous situation possible than embarrassment.

“I have heard cases where people use these photos to get what they want from the other person,” Melancon said.

“I think that’s it’s important for teens and adults to know that when they send a compromising photo out, they are no longer in control of who sees that photo and you’re in turn no longer in control of yourself because it can easily be used against you.”

Blackmail, public humiliation, criminal charges; none of these are things you wish upon yourself, let alone your child, but what can you do about it?   “Educate them on the dangers of what they face and the long-term consequences,” Melancon noted.

“Take a proactive stance in monitoring your child’s activity. The days of putting a computer in the family room are over. Now you have 12-year-olds with smart phones. They can take pictures and post inappropriate things online without you ever knowing it.”

Although the cases presented in this story are extreme, they are not uncommon. Use them as examples to begin a dialogue with your child, and take this as a first step to educating yourself on the dangers of a virtual-based society.   “For parents, this can be very scary,” Melancon concluded.

“Be proactive. Educate yourself. Chances are your kids don’t know everything about the Internet, either.”

This story is part of a series called “The thin blue line separating social from cell block.”

Your Favorite Cop Show


In 1975 I was spending afternoons like most any other child of that era. Pretending to be an Army soldier fighting a foreign enemy preoccupied most of our weekends. In addition to winning Super Bowls, World Series and NBA Championships in the sand lots dotting the neighborhood, we played the classic, cops & robbers.

One evening as my family gathered in the living room, and kids still served the role as “channel changers,” I first heard that distinctive theme song. Who can forget it; benanah, benanah, benanah, …

S.W.A.T. (TV series)

The solid black cargo van, the unknown driver, the CB radio mounted to the dashboard, the fast-moving men grabbing long rifles. I was hooked. I hummed that lyric-less theme song constantly, and wore black pants and shirts as often as possible to emulate their BDU uniforms.

Today, kids dressing in black while pretending to fire assault rifles has an entirely different connotation. Sadly, how times have changed.

SWAT, the television series captured my imagination and ignited my passion for policing. Previous years of television cop dramas only portrayed officers in traditional uniforms, or detective’s coat and tie.

Photo of Jack Webb and Harry Morgan from the t...
Dragnet – Just the Facts

SWAT broke that mold. Although the concept of a dedicated platoon of officers serving solely as a special weapons and tactics unit in real-life policing was relatively a new concept in the United States, the television series spread the word.

The LAPD SWAT was the first in the United States.Most assume this fictitious team protected the streets of Los Angeles, but the show never specified their jurisdiction. The shoulder patches had “W.C.P.D.” and it did not matter to a neighborhood group of kids.

SWAT was immediately controversial because of its intense scenarios and the militaristic methods of resolving the crisis. Each of the characters were portrayed as Vietnam veterans and used that military specialization in the domestic jurisdiction somewhere in California.

Changing Police Era

The era of police violence during the 1960’s demanded reform after a period of law enforcement known as the Professional Era.

Televised events such as the civil rights demonstrations disbanded by brutal police force, and the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago where millions of Americans watched in horror as police wielded force without mercy.

Welcome to Chicago
Welcome to Chicago

That may have been the standard of the time, but the times had changed. The era of Community Oriented Policing was firming up during the 1970s, and SWAT (TV series) was in stark contrast to those ideals.

The media were also hyper-critical of the series as the super cool cast created a five-man unit that shot first and asked questions later. No messy paperwork or negotiations. The unit often dispensed more violence than the miscreants they pursued. As kids, that mattered none. They kicked butt and left the name taking to the cops in the sport coats.

Lasting only two seasons, SWAT left its mark on spin-off series. It also demonstrated that despite a nation just out of Vietnam, civil rights unrest and the turbulent 1960s, the television consuming public desired cop dramas with a touch of toughness.

Publicity photo of Hal Linden and Barbara Barr...
Barney Miller (TV Series)

Do you remember?

Do you recall Kojack, Baretta, TJ Hooker? They almost seem like Barney Miller’s crew compared to the cop dramas of today.

I spent sixteen fantastic years in SWAT. Although I do not miss it, I also do not regret it. Watching reruns of the original television series makes me laugh at the simplicity of the series.

Maybe that was also the attraction for watching it. Can you imagine if Lt. Harrelson focused more on administrative policy than giving orders to “take ‘em out!” If their biggest challenge was confronting the administration over civil liabilities instead of saving lives?

Fantasy to Reality

Long before my paid SWAT career began, I was a member of an elite neighborhood force consisting of the kids from the Westside. We all watched the series, then met for training and missions each weekend.

I was Hondo and took naturally to creating the training plans, identifying the targets and executing the missions. Who knew decades later I would serve in that same command capacity in real-life.

SWAT Training 3

I still say the neighborhood unit was better than the real thing, but time has a way of making our perception much more different from reality.

What was your favorite Cop Show?

Check out my good friends at The Badge Guys, where Juli Adcock hosted a week long series of her favorite shows.

Transparency vs. Too Much Information

In policing, the balance between providing the public with information and maintaining appropriate confidentiality is a constant challenge. This post, shares great information.

How much is Too much?

The 16%

Transparency has been the hot-button word since the emergence of social media, but is there such a thing as giving out too much information?

Case and point: I went to St. Lucia a few months ago (be very jealous), and when we were waiting to board our plane, a man’s voice came over the speaker system at the airport and said,

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are ready to board the flight, but we are waiting on an employee who is apparently running late to work. Once that employee arrives, we’ll resume as normal.”

Did he just throw a fellow employee under the bus? And more importantly, what does that say about the company?

To make matters worse, a handful of us ended up arriving to our destination two hours late and missing our connecting flight. Although the customers knew exactly why it happened, it still didn’t leave us good feelings…

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How do you deal with the media?

The 16%

Organizations love the media when they want to promote an upcoming community event; but one thing I’ve noticed working in the news industry (and working with local government officials) is that some public sector workers are petrified of the media in those not-so-nice situations.

Maybe it’s because they’ve watched too much Nancy Grace. Or maybe they were victims of a sensational local reporter who turned a fire drill into an all-out public panic. Unfortunately, there are these types of extremists in the news industry; but for the most part, the media has the same purpose as you—serving the public.

The secret to having a healthy relationship with the media is to think of them as acquaintances—not best friends, not enemies—acquaintances.  Think about how you treat acquaintances.  You are cordial to them, yet still cautious to reveal your whole life story to them.

Keeping that in mind and remembering these…

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I Appreciate Your Help This Week

why female

Discovering our WHY!!

Once you discover your passion, everything else makes sense. This week, lets discuss and discover our “why.”

Please Join us each morning 

(02/18 – 22/13)

Chief Silverii sharing his “Why”

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