To post or not to post …

I have heard from quite a few law enforcement officers who are concerned that their Facebook posts will somehow be used to impeach them on the witness stand.

First, impeachment and the use of evidence at trial require a critical analysis: is it relevant? It is simply not relevant that you have a Facebook page or that you had a few drinks at a Superbowl party-as long as you were not DUI when you left! I believe that many of the stories of officers being impeached with Facebook posts are likely urban legends. However, keep reading…

Second, Facebook has a system to conceal personal information and posts from people who are not your friends. Learn to use it.

Third, do not post your date of birth or home address on Facebook. You risk identity theft more than impeachment, but it is not a good idea in any case.

Fourth, remove any posts or pictures that you believe may be inappropriate, especially if you identify yourself as a law enforcement officer.

Social networking activities are protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. For those of you who put your lives on the line everyday to protect the rights of strangers, do not abandon social networking because you are concerned about the efforts of a defense attorney. You are entitled to associate freely with your friends and family in a public forum.

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