Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

April 18, 2012

Central Communications adopts social media policy

CROSSVILLE — Emergency dispatch employees can post on social media websites, but will now be required to follow a new policy that was adopted last week.

The Central Communications Committee approved a social media policy for all employees of the E-911 Communications Center to follow. The policy was approved during the quarterly CCC meeting and was recommended by Central Communications Director Donald Buttram and Cumberland County Mayor Kenneth Carey Jr.

The policy refers to popular social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and others.

The intention of the policy is to ensure that only appropriate materials are posted on social networking sites in relation to Cumberland County Central Communications.

"We haven't really had many problems with this issue, but we feel like it's something that needs to be addressed in this day with all the sites that are out there," Buttram said. "Mostly, it's common sense."

"Cumberland Central intends to maintain a professional image in the community, and workplace," the policy states.

The policy states that all employees of the Central Communications Center are to obey all applicable federal, state and local laws that pertain to this type of media.

"We want to maintain a trustworthy reputation in the community and that's one of the biggest things with this policy," Buttram said.

According to the policy, "No material should be posted to any social media site that would reflect poorly on Cumberland County, Cumberland Central Communications, Cumberland County Emergency Dispatch, or any of our employees."

Pictures of employees in uniform or the county logo are permitted, but employees are urged to remember they are representing the county when in uniform and identifiable as a county emergency employee.

Pictures of scenes or patients are never to be posted and no information concerning patients is permitted that may be a violation of HIPPA laws.

No information pertaining to police investigations is to be posted.

Pictures of co-workers or employees is only permitted if the employee agrees and permission is obtained.

Any notices on behalf of the county or emergency dispatch or Central Communications are not permitted unless there is written consent from management.

Employees are encouraged to be respectful in posts to their audience and never to use racial or ethnic slurs or personal insults.

"We serve a diverse population and this will not be tolerated," the policy states.

Employees are also instructed not to let these social media outlets to interfere with normal work duties.

"The use of unfounded, pornographic, proprietary, harassing, libelous, or other inappropriate statements or materials can result in disciplinary action," the policy states.

Violating the policy can result in disciplinary action against the employee.

The policy was unanimously approved after a motion was made by city of Crossville Manager Bruce Wyatt. Wyatt's motion was supported by Cumberland County Fire Chief and EMS Director Jeff Dodson.

Dodson said he would probably use the same or similar policy for the EMS department.

The Central Communications Committee is a three-way partnership among emergency communications and responders from the city of Crossville, Cumberland County and the Cumberland County E-911 Emergency District.

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