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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    112

    Political/Social Restraints

    Hello again. I was wondering with all the rapid movement in the world, when you are affiliated with the government, what restrictions (if there are any) does your employment prohibit you from saying as far as supporting your beliefs.

    For example, let's say you support something that is not immoral or not illegal (i.e. you support the fact that parents should not smoke around their kids because of health reasons). Are you in a position where you cannot interfere? Does it matter if you're on duty or off duty? Other restrictions?

    I want to know what restraints hold law enforcement and criminal justice individuals from speaking/advocating their personal beliefs into promoting a "better" community. Quotes because it is opinionated depending on viewpoints.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    6,343
    In general you will need to draw a fat line between your personal beliefs and ideology and your official position and not wander across it. You have the right to your beliefs and to express them as a citizen, but not under the the authority of your office. There's all kinds of laws and policies around this, but Federal employees are governed by the Hatch Act which is not a bad guide on this issue.

    In your example, if a parent was smoking in a prohibited area Officer This User might properly write a citation for that, but should spare the parent the lecture about health. Without dressing it up in your law enforcement authority, you might belong to an anti-smoking or health advocacy group or contribute to it or speak about it on your own time, clearly distinguishing that you are speaking as you and not representing your agency or position as a law enforcement officer.

    There are organizations of law enforcement officers which can represent positions for their membership (FOP, FLEOA) but these are not agencies of government.

    Simple Rule: If you are speaking with the badge showing, keep your personal beliefs locked up regardless of whether or not you are on or off duty.

    Maybe not necessary, but this refers to interactions with the public. Among officers and agents conversations can be pretty freewheeling but even there handing out "Vote for Snidley" material to your watch or squad mates could get you properly beefed and disciplined.
    Last edited by ATF SAC; 07-16-2015 at 15:21.
    ret.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Western Hemisphere
    Posts
    535
    In summary, as a military member or civil service employee of Uncle Sam, there is no First Amendment right to free speech at work; or away from work when you look like you're at work. I've always said the furthest existence from capitalism in a constitutional republic - is being a government employee.
    Stay safe!

    FedAgent

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    112
    Dually noted. Thanks!


 

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