A Lexington Police officer has been reprimanded for live streaming a video to Instagram for “Barbells and Handcuffs,” a workout apparel company, while she was in in her police uniform and driving a police cruiser.
Lexington Police officer Haley Patterson was given a written reprimand that was recently approved by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council at a July meeting. According to the disciplinary form, Patterson violated the police department’s social media policy that says “with the exception of live streaming video, employees may post content of themselves in uniform as well as content related to non-enforcement department activities (such as community events, social functions, etc.)”
Patterson was also in violation of another policy that requires police officers to drive vehicles in a safe manner, the disciplinary forms show. According to its web site, Barbells and Handcuffs is a police-owned workout apparel company that sells t-shirts, socks and other active wear.
Patterson was not on the job at the time the live stream video was posted to Instagram, police officials said. The Lexington Herald-Leader obtained the disciplinary forms through an Open Record Act request. The incident happened on April 18. The written reprimand was presented and approved by the Lexington council at its July 5 meeting.
Police departments have long struggled with how to monitor police activities on social media. In 2007, six Lexington police officers were disciplined and one was fired after coming under scrutiny for a My Space page with a host of questionable content including comments about the arrest of country music star John Michael Montgomery, who was arrested by Lexington Police in 2006 for driving under the influence.
And it’s not just the police that seem to struggle with the ethics of social media.