Social Media Background Checks in the Law Enforcement Industry

Last month, we started a series aimed at taking a closer look at specific industries where social media background checks are a particularly good fit. Today we’ll switch gears from the healthcare industry to the law enforcement industry.

Law enforcement and social media in the news

Individuals in the law enforcement industry have a great deal of responsibility. They are tasked with enforcing laws and maintaining public order and safety. Unfortunately, there have been countless instances of law enforcement employees making headlines due to red flag behavior just over the past few months.

Back in April, two Georgia police officers were fired after a traffic stop turned violent. Multiple videos surfaced showing the victim with his hands raised while one officer punched him. After he fell to the ground and was handcuffed, a second officer ran over and stomped on his face.

More recently, an officer in Louisiana made the decision to tender his resignation after sharing a racist Facebook post. The post in question shows a woman holding a little girl’s head under water and contains derogatory language indicating that is what parents should do “when your daughters first crush” is an African American boy. A closer look at the officer’s Facebook page also revealed a post comparing women in burqas to “trash bags.”

How can social media background checks help?

Social media background checks can reveal behavior that is not in line with an organization’s values or beliefs. With your candidate’s consent, our social media hiring reports take a closer look at their online presence. Although they will likely put their best foot forward in an interview, an applicant’s social media can shed light on other aspects of their true character.

It is important for law enforcement employees to abide by a code of conduct when upholding their duties. Social media hiring reports can help ensure that this is the case. Our reports identify individuals who exhibit behaviors that may lead to workplace safety issues such as violence, sexual harassment, and substance abuse.

Once we have located the correct person's online presence, we examine their content for four types of red flag behavior. We specifically look for material that is violent, illegal, sexually explicit, or racist. If we locate any of that red flag behavior, we capture it (as pictured below). Any protected class information is redacted. That way a potential employer doesn’t violate a candidate’s privacy.

barry doe blog

Conducting social media searches in the law enforcement industry is essential and every agency should carefully consider the benefits of screening employees. Interested in seeing a sample report?


Contributing author: Caitlin Rogers