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Where is the line . Free speech / officer safety

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  • Where is the line . Free speech / officer safety

    Good Morning ,

    I thought I had seen everything until now .. Need opinions , Where is the line between free speech and officer safety . I took a p/t job in a small town in Ohio, after years f/t. Essentially the town has a complete nutjob , who's life revolves around blogs , pictures, and nasty commentary about my chief and our dept. He has no less than 50 separate Blogs with pictures of our patrolman their houses , their personal cars phone numbers , applications, even a picture of our schedule And it is at least as bad as you think. If not worse. EVERY DAY he follows our cars around and takes pictures of the officers , leaving commentary and leading remarks. My worry is he is gonna get someone hurt or killed, by some cowboy who has a hard on for cops. Essentially painting a bulls-eye on the backs of the 20 officers. He walks the chalk line of free speech , vs disrupting public service . But it is getting out of hand. If you need more you can PM me. I just dont want to see any of us get hurt cause of this guy.

    S

  • #2
    There are a couple of things you can look at:

    First, you indicate this guy is publishing job apps online. Different states have varying laws designed to protect their citizens from identity theft and misuse of social security numbers Among them are laws that prohibit publishing someone else’s Social Security number on the internet without their permission. You might want to check and see if you state has such a law. If so, this may be useful to you. You might also want to check and see if your state's public records act authorized the release of your applications or anything with your home address. In my state, job applications and anything with home address and phone number information of any public employee is deemed confidential as a matter of law and cannot be released.

    Next, some states have laws that prohibit publishing the home address or phone number of peace officers on the internet. Again, you may wish to check you state laws on this issue.

    With respect to the individual following patrol cars and photographing activity, is he also attempting to interact with the officers or doing things that distract them? Again, most states have laws that make it illegal to willfully resist, delay, or obstruct any public officer or peace officer in the performance of their duties. This doesn’t necessarily require physical interference, but can include interrupting, distracting, etc., if you can show that somehow delayed or obstructed you.
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

    Comment


    • #3
      Since you are at a small PD, I would have your chief contact state or county law enforcement to request help and see if there is any possible law violations.

      Also you might want to contact a personal attorney and discuss possible civil action against that person.

      Comment


      • #4
        Here judge for yourself ... Since yall are police in this forum, and his blogs are all public...

        http://www.blogger.com/profile/04002365009088652954

        And yes he shouts obscenities on traffic stops passing by, takes pics of officers on traffic stops, and makes life as miserable as can be. Luckily I am NOT pictured in any of his psycho rants. These are officers working for little money, or new grads. Its a pt job for me, but im old and dont wanna see one of these kids get killed.

        Comment


        • #5
          Dude is crazy and is going to snap one day, has red-flags of an OIS all over it.
          (\__/)
          (='.'=) This is Ninja Bunny.
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          signature to help him gain world domination

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          • #6
            Originally posted by CACBAND View Post
            Dude is crazy and is going to snap one day, has red-flags of an OIS all over it.
            I agree 100 % I feel horrible for the chief, he is a great guy, gives more recruits their first job than anyone I know. Its hard to find a guy in this day, as wanting to help as him. He knows its a stepping stone for new grads, or a stepping down for older vets. Hence why I want to help. He has done nothing but good things in the time i have known him.
            Last edited by AUXOFC74; 05-14-2013, 02:44 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              I looked over your “friend’s” blog and a couple of other things struck me.

              First, I would make copies of those things on his blog about the PD that are blatantly false (like the PD airplane).

              Next, I would make copies of those entries on his blog when he engages in name calling of the officers.

              I bring these issues up because eventually you will wind up in court. Being able to show in court that he publishes deliberate falsehoods and engages in name calling of your department and members, attacks his credibility as a witness and demonstrates his motives if you are charging him with a crime against an officer.

              I also noted his numerous public records requests. I would have someone become very familiar with your state’s public records act. Many of the things he and his friends ask for would be exempt from disclosure under my state’s public records act. I suspect you may have similar exemptions in your state as well. For example, traffic citations issued to others – case law here says it is an unwarranted invasion of the recipient’s privacy; accident reports – only available to involved parties and insurance companies; copies of police and security enforcement procedures – exempt from public disclosure; crime reports – exempt until case is closed or filed with the prosecutor. If no suspect arrested or statute has not run then case is still open; If a juvenile is detained, arrested or named as a suspect the report cannot be released.

              Often a statewide POA will put on public records request training for records custodians and it is well worth taking.

              In addition, when complex public records act requests are made, most states allow you to require the requesting party to pay in advance for the labor to conduct the records search necessary to comply with that request.

              I also noted that he likes to debate every little thing and hold court on the spot. For example, he wanted to dispute record copying charges. The town can charge what is truly reasonable and should have a printed breakdown as to how it arrived at its figure if anyone asks. If he believes the charges are excessive he can contest them in court, but making a clerk explain the costs on the spot and having a dual with calculators (as apparently took place) should not be tolerated.
              Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

              Comment


              • #8
                If the dude is so unhappy living there, why doesn't he move?
                Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ateamer View Post
                  If the dude is so unhappy living there, why doesn't he move?
                  Shame on you for bringing logic into this.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    L-1 has offered some very cogent and on-point advice; I would take time to review what was offered up and start following along.

                    I agree that the tone and context of his Blogs portends of someone who not only has issue with the local PD but also that of a self appointed watchdog. While I applaud the civilian populous who report genuine (or even perceived) misconduct, my worry radar starts to ping when I see someone who as demonstrated in this case- invests what by all accounts is an inordinate amount of time basically stalking the local cops.

                    These cases can escalate very quickly. The best advice and that given by L-1 is to document, document, document.
                    Originally posted by SSD
                    It has long been the tradition on this forum and as well as professionally not to second guess or Monday morning QB the officer's who were actually on-scene and had to make the decision. That being said, I don't think that your discussion will go very far on this board.
                    Originally posted by Iowa #1603
                    And now you are arguing about not arguing..................

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by AUXOFC74 View Post
                      Here judge for yourself ... Since yall are police in this forum, and his blogs are all public...
                      This is a public forum.........................anyone can see the posts
                      Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                      My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Just an observation, but I think it's interesting in the postings about open records stuff (I think that's what it's about anyway, pretty incoherent), most of the documents he has posted pictures of are from 1992 to 1998, but the date stamp on his pictures is 2012.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Now you made me curious. Here is your state's public records act. http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/149.43

                          A quick review indicates you have many of the protections found in my state. Read it carefully and see if it may benefit you in dealing with your blogger's public records requests. Note that any denial of his requests should be made promptly in writing, citing the specific section of the public records act that exempts his request from disclosure.

                          I had form letters in my computer I could cut and paste from when I got requests for exempt material. They contained short and simple phrases like:

                          We are unable to comply with your request as you are seeking information regarding a law enforcement procedure. Section XXX of the XXX Code exempts law enforcement procedures from public disclosure.

                          or

                          We are unable to provide copies of the crime report you are seeking as the investigation into this matter is still open. As such, disclosure is prohibited pursuant to Section XXX of XXX Code.

                          or

                          The appropriate avenue for obtaining materials related to your arrest/citation is to have your attorney seek discovery through the prosecutor's office.

                          or

                          We are unable to provide you with the requested documents as we are not the Custodian of Records for the original copies of those items. Please redirect your inquiry to XXXXXXX

                          or

                          We are unable to provide the information you are seeking as we do not maintain or compile statistical data on the subject matter in question.

                          It was short, simple and there was no urinating contest. We responded promptly (within10 days), in writing, explained why they could not have what they wanted, and gave a legal basis for refusing their request.
                          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ateamer View Post
                            If the dude is so unhappy living there, why doesn't he move?
                            He is thinking of moving to SLO.
                            Retired

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by retired View Post
                              He is thinking of moving to SLO.
                              Fine with me, I don't live anywhere near there. It is one of my favorite parts of the state, though.
                              Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                              I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

                              Comment

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