Indianapolis - Embarrassing pictures on the Internet have prompted Indiana State Police to take action.
State police are sending a clear message to all members of the department - don't embarrass State Police on the Internet - and certainly, don't do it while you're on the job.
13 Investigates broke the story last month, showing how an Indiana State Trooper posted questionable photos and information on Facebook, a popular social networking Web site. The trooper used the site to discuss what he was doing at work, to brag about excessive drinking while off-duty and to show another police officer holding a gun to his head.
State police are now investigating to see how much of the Web posting activity may have taken place while the trooper was supposed to be working. The department is drafting a formal policy on using Web sites such as Facebook.
But in the meantime, 13 Investigates has obtained a written directive from the assistant superintendent of the Indiana State Police. It was sent this week to top commanders throughout the department and it makes it very clear that type of behavior will no longer be tolerated.
According to Colonel Richard Weigand's directive, State Police employees cannot use social networking Web sites such as Facebook and MySpace and cannot use business Web sites such as eBay and Overstock.com while on duty. Col. Weigand also said employees cannot post anything to the Internet that would embarrass the employee or the department and that ISP will take swift and immediate actions toward any employee who would embarrass the department's good name.
"Recently, a few instances were brought to light where our people have failed to use the proper discretion when accessing and using technology," the colonel added. "I would like to remind everyone that the appearance we portray to the public is vitally important because it is directly connected to the respect society has for our officers and the Indiana State Police as a whole."
Right now, state police are continuing their internal investigation into the photos and comments 13 Investigates uncovered. The state trooper involved may face disciplinary action, but it will be several weeks before the investigation is complete.