Cops Screen Recruits' Texts, Facebook Posts

Racy pics, suicide threats get would-be cops dumped
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2010 11:16 AM CST
Cops Screen Recruits' Texts, Facebook Posts
This Feb. 11, 2009 file photo shows an owner beginning to write a text message on his cell phone in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

Law enforcement agencies are probing potential recruits’ digital lives for information that might make them unfit for the job, USA Today reports. More than a third of police agencies look into applicants’ social media presence, says a new report conducted for police executives. Reviewing postings to sites like Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube, some agencies require applicants’ online passwords, or want to see their text-messaging and email records.

But “where does it all stop?" asks the head of an electronic privacy group. The police union worries that such information could be used against police officers in court. Casualties of the process include a Massachusetts recruit who was disqualified over texts containing suicide threats, and a New Jersey hopeful dumped over provocative photographs of himself with women in skimpy clothing.

(Read more police stories.)

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