MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

April 24, 2014

Officer could face discipline after post

Photo uploaded to Instagram shows beer, guns in vehicle

An investigation by the Muskogee Police Department will determine if an officer will face disciplinary actions after posting a questionable picture on a social media website.

“We will determine what to do next based on the results of the investigation,” said Public Information Officer Cpl. Michael Mahan.

Muskogee Police Officer Chansey McMillin posted a picture on his Instagram page of an open beer container and several rifles in the front seat of a vehicle.

Muskogee Police Chief Rex Eskridge said the department is more concerned with policy issues than a violation of the law.

“I don’t think there was any criminal or illegal activity,” Eskridge said.

The department will conduct an internal investigation to determine if any policy violations were committed. Mahan said if there was a violation it will fall under the category of “conduct unbecoming of an officer.”

In the not-so-private world of social media, the line between professional life and personal life can be blurry, he said.

“We understand as officers, we are held to a higher standard on and off duty,” Mahan said.

Instagram is an Internet site and a mobile phone application designed to post photos or videos and upload them to the site to be viewed by other users.

Like many social media sites, privacy settings may keep some content out of view of the public on the first post. However, once a user posts a picture or video, it’s fair game for any user who follows to save and to share with anyone.

The Instagram Privacy Policy states, “Any information or content that you voluntarily disclose for posting to the Service, such as User Content, becomes available to the public, as controlled by any applicable privacy settings that you set.”     

In the case of McMillin, the post containing the picture of the guns and open beer container was saved and then re-posted. It has since been removed from the site.

Eskridge said he is concerned about how the post was shared with the public.

“We have to be concerned about privacy issues, too, and how the media got a hold of it,” Eskridge said.

Mahan said the department has been working on a social media policy.

“We have been in the process of adding a social media policy to our policy manual,” Mahan said. “We are reviewing other agencies’ policies on it.”

Reach E.I. Hillin at (918) 684-2926 or ehillin@muskogeephoenix.com.

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