Danielle Bell, Nanaimo, B.C. (Nanaimo Daily News) – A Nanaimo RCMP officer may face disciplinary action because of comments he posted on his public Facebook page that the force calls “troubling.”
The online social networking site of a Nanaimo RCMP constable is being reviewed by an RCMP professional standards unit. The Facebook musings of the Mountie, 26, could also trigger an internal RCMP code of conduct investigation, but police officials said it is too early to speculate.
The Nanaimo Daily News has chosen not to reveal the officer’s name.
Public posts on the Facebook page include: “Night shift and St. Paddy’s Day, can’t wait to drop kick all the drunk idiots”; “Bar watch shift tonight, I’m gonna catch me a ginger”; and “How come every chick I arrest lately refuses to put clothes on and they’re the ones you never want to see naked.”
The officer has since locked his Facebook page to anyone but his “friends” when advised by his superiors to remove the offensive content.
RCMP officers are allowed to use online blogs and sites but there are guidelines. Police must conduct themselves in a professional manner that does not violate a code of ethics and values.
“Obviously, from what I have seen, the conduct does fall short of what we would expect,” said RCMP E Division spokeswoman Cpl. Annie Linteau on Friday. “If there’s a perception you’re a police officer, you have to conduct yourself in a way that’s respectful and professional.”
Sanctions imposed after an internal code of conduct review could range from a written reprimand to dismissal.
The officer says he knows his posts were in poor judgment. He said he was joking among friends and did not mean to offend anyone.
“I’ve got a stressful job and the way I deal with it is I use humour,” said the constable. “It’s obviously pretty stupid to post that stuff on there. I didn’t intend it to go out in the public.”
The widespread use of online social networking sites has raised issues around public and private personas, especially when those may clash with professional roles. Reports of job-seekers being dismissed over content on their Facebook pages have surfaced several times.
“It’s disappointing to hear if a police officer wouldn’t have the judgment to understand the impacts of their statements. Joking or not joking,” said Randall Craig, author of Online PR and Social Media for Experts.
“There’s no problem with police officers or anyone using these tools. Recognize it’s public, transparent and everyone’s accountable.”