October 16, 2018

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Be Smart with Your Smartphone: Law Enforcement Use of Personal Devices

Gordon Graham
Category: Law Enforcement

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for law enforcement.

Don’t text anything you wouldn’t want to be printed on the front page of the newspaper.

Today’s Tip is for our friends in law enforcement and it deals with using your personally owned mobile device for work. 

Today, everyone has a smartphone. We carry it with us everywhere. They make it so easy and convenient for us to stay connected. We can text and email anybody about anything at any time. We don’t need to sit in front of a computer and log in to check our email. We just check our phones. Just sending a text makes it easy to communicate with our co-workers.  

But, beware. Using your personal smartphone may not be as convenient as you think. Now, the law varies. And in some places, this is less of a risk. But if you’re using your personal phone to send work-related text messages or emails, the information on your phone may be subject to public review. You could be required to disclose texts or emails you sent or received related to a criminal investigation. You might be asked required to share your phone’s contents if your department receives a public information request. This is true even if you’re using your personal phone. 

In my book, the risk that you might have to disclose the contents of your phone to a crafty defense attorney or to some newspaper reporter outweighs the benefits. 

If you MUST use your phone for work-related business, make sure you follow your agency’s policy.  It might be worth a visit with your supervisor to determine whether your messages could be subject to disclosure. Keep your messages professional. Don’t type anything you wouldn’t want to be printed on the front page of the newspaper. 

Smartphones are a great resource and a powerful tool. But, if you can avoid it, don’t use your personal phone to conduct work-related business. 

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham, signing off.

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