Cheswold PD pledges to adhere to policies after probe into officer’s Facebook post

CHESWOLD — Following allegations of an officer possibly making an anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Facebook post on a personal page two months ago, Cheswold Police pledged to make sure staff is adhering to the department’s social media policies.

Police Chief Chris Workman would not discuss if an independent investigation into the possible post brought any discipline.

He said “we will be implementing a stronger educational and training stand to assure that our officers are effectively and inclusively protecting and serving all of the members of our community.”

In mid-August, Equality Delaware, Inc., and the Equality Delaware Foundation alerted town officials to a post supposedly made by a “Louis Judge” that stated “I stand with Trump!!! The flag on the right shoulder is [American flag image] not [LGBTQ rainbow flag image].”

The police department committed to finding the source of the post and officially respond, if applicable.

This week, Chief Workman cited the Police Officers Bill of Rights and said “the internal investigation policy any disciplinary action is confidential.”

Asked for a reaction on Wednesday, Equality Delaware Foundation President Mark Purpura said, “Not knowing what the resolution is, I can’t comment.”

Chief Workman declined further comment. He provided a six-page department social media/Internet policy issued in June 2014 for employees to follow.

The investigation was first conducted internally, Chief Workman said, and the department then worked with the Delaware Police Chief’s Council to assure an independent investigator would review the matter to determine if departmental rules and regulations had been violated.

“No town funds were used and it was an department chosen by the Delaware Police Chiefs Council,” said Chief Workman. He wouldn’t disclose which department was enlisted to probe the issue.

Police would not disclose whether the officer in question was confirmed to be the source of the controversial Facebook post, authorities said.

“As that was part of the internal investigation I cannot comment on that,” Chief Workman said.

Authorities plan to move forward with a strengthened approach to the department’s social media/Internet policy.

“While this matter has been resolved departmentally, it has shown that I have to take a look at what more we can do to ensure that all of our officers, are educated and informed,” Chief Workman said.

“This includes, not only, making sure that our officers have a better and clear understanding of policy but that they are also educated on the purpose of that policy.”

According to Cheswold Police social media policy, “Department personnel are free to express themselves as private citizens on social media sites to the degree that their speech does not impair working relationships of this department for which loyalty and confidentiality are important, impede the performance of duties, impair discipline and harmony among coworkers, or negatively affect the public perception of the department.”

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