Friday, October 13, 2006

*sigh*

As I was scooting back home from MattG's place this afternoon, I drove through Wichita Falls and heard an interesting tidbit on the radio concerning their police department -- seems like they just "indefinitely suspended" one of their officers because of his MySpace page.

I checked it out through the website of the Wichita Falls newspaper, and found these:

Story one.

Story two.

And Fox News.

I've been told that the story has been on CNN also, but I can't find it on their web-site.

This ought to be interesting; wonder how my department is going to react to this little development.

While I do have a MySpace page, I acquired it for the sole purpose of viewing the MySpace page of Jesse MacBeth, and not only haven't done anything with the page, but to the best of my knowledge I've not been back to my page since then.

I do, however, have this little blog. Longtime readers know that I go to some lengths -- more or less -- to hide my identity, the identity of other people in the stories, and the location of my department.

I have had flattering -- more than flattering -- offers to publish some of my scribbles and tales in various places -- the Darwin Awards for example -- and I always turn these offers down, probably to the confusion of people.

Now you know why.

On one paw, I consider this blog to be my ultimate expression of Free Speech, as protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. I like to think that I am responsible in my postings.

On the other paw, Texas is a Right to Work state. The personnel in my department are constantly reminded that we work at the whim of the Sheriff; and that the Sheriff does not require a reason to fire us in Texas.

Hmph.

My department is probably going to react to the WFPD story. How it does so is not really known to me at this time, but it could require -- worst case scenario -- that Internal Affairs be notified of any web presence, so that IA may vet such writings, or even to order department personnel to stop blogging or find another job.

Again, that would be a worst case scenario.

I have become fond of this little blog. While it neither feeds me, nor pays any bills, it attends to my need to write, and it has become a way for introverted me to interact on some level with other people outside of work.

I have come to like reading the Comments and discovering that other people enjoy the things I write.

This blog is my Free Speech. I'm not giving it up.

LawDog

31 comments:

Ken said...

I think, like so many others that read this bit of wit, that common sense will prevail if and when this good blog comes to light.

Alec said...

glad to hear your not giving it up. I'm a big fan of your blog and would be pretty dissapointed if it dissapeared.

George said...

I think that all your readers are your fans, LD. However, there is a much more important principle at work here. At least, in the US of A, you do have that amendment guaranteed right. I only pray that your right doesn't cost you your job.

Besides, where else could we get such fantastically funny stories?

The best, always.

Regards,
George

Art Eatman said...

Employer concern about the off-duty behavior or thought processes is understandable. From the two newspaper articles, however, I see no similarity of the MySpace descriptions with the material at this blog.

Art

Eric said...

My days wouldn't be quite as bright as they are now were this blog to go away.

This place makes me look at somethings differently and I am better off for it. I learn some and laugh alot.

Im glad you aren't giving it up.

rwc said...

I was shocked, shocked to check the comments and see that not one reader had told you to "stand up for your rights" ... without offering to pay your mortgage.

As a fellow "at will employee" of an elected person I feel for you.

Maybe the best response to an IA critique would be to ask if they've read the blog. All of it. If they say yes and don't do it with a smile then you know you're in trouble.

Take care.

Cybrludite said...

This is of some concern for me as well. Not too difficult to find out who I am from my online postings. (Especially since I use this screen name in FPS games after work) Some of my post Katrina grumblings might not looked too kindly upon by TPTB. Then there's all the HIPPA issues involved. An amusing story from work could be a Federal felony on my part if you can possibly ID a patient from it.

Billy Sparks said...

After scanning both articles I think the problem with that officer's MySpace page is the images of disembowled people, nudity and listing his job as a serial killer. First off you blog has very few to no pictures (if you don't count the bird pictures) and doesn't have any pictures of you eating anyone's entrails on a pizza.

What he did was stupid on one level and on another one sort of freaky.

JR said...

I have just recently found your site and it would be a shame for it to be shut down. I enjoy your straight forward, no nonsense commentary.

Jim said...

Don't see any similarity here. Your writing is informative and/or funny, sometimes hilarious. I've nearly fallen out of my chair a couple of times. Don't stop. This guy, Officer Whatshisname, admitted to a propensity for violence. I've never seen that here. On the contrary, your writing has always seemed balanced (in favor of the good guys) and sane in a world rapidly going insane. Thanks for the words. I sincerely hope you continue to feed your need to write and thank you again for sharing.

WR Olsen said...

Law enforcement has to view life in strict terms (read: "anal") and I certainly hope your sheriff doesnt' take the actions of a rather strange individual as representative of all police bloggers.
Freedom of expression is critical to our society...let's hope your boss has a sense of balance and humor.

Anonymous said...

I am currently five weeks into the Academy in my state. My web site came up during my background investigation. They basically strongly discouraged me having one, but said that they couldn't deny me my first amendment rights. However, I was specifically told not to write anything about my new career on there, period. So I get the impression that so long as I stick to their rules, I'm okay. It's still kinda sad though. :/ I have been writing pages and pages of essays on my experiences at the academy, but there's only 20 or so people who can read them since I can't post them to my site. :(

Bobby said...

My currently blog is my second law enforcement blog. My first was discovered by someone who I worked with and disliked me very much(the feelings were mutual, believe me.)

Anyway, he printed out the whole thing and slid copies under the Chief's door and gave copies to all the Lts. Legally they couldn't prove that it was me who were making the posts regarding the idiocy that I experienced on a daily basis. However, there were enough similarities and I guess the nicknames that I chose for all the dolts struck a chord close to home with them.

When I found it had been compromised, I deleted the blog completely, and didn't write again for about 6 months. During that time I had no real place to vent and let things build up inside of me, making me quite miserable.

A month after it had been found, I was involved in a patrol car accident that was not my fault. The Chief tried to fire me to show everyone that he wasn't as spineless as I had written. Lucky for me, I had a good union rep and maintained my head on my shoulders. After a month of desk duty and negotiations, I walked with a letter in my file that's due to be pulled anytime now.
I finally decided to start a new blog, and to be more careful.

So, continue writing if you enjoy it, but be weary. Don't mention anything to anyone you work with about it. Best of luck and be safe out there.

Mattexian said...

I'd say your anonymity is safe here, unless you're handing out business cards with your real name and this blog addy on them. Even Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" and the Federalist Papers were first published anonymously.

Hobie said...

So now you'll live like a Chinese disident, scurrying from internet cafe to internet cafe, constantly changing your ID and password, always looking over your shoulder...

pax said...

'Dawg ~

Anonymity, while good for other reasons, is no real protection from the hiring & firing folks. After all, all it would really take would be one question on the hiring lie-detector test, and you'd be outed. That's a losing game ...

Better protection, which you have done scrupulously, is never to gossip about your co-workers -- so if & when your boss & fellow toilers read your blog, no one's nose is going to get personally out of joint about anything you've written (the mistake 'anonymous' made above, I suspect). So I really believe you're safe on that score.

While I know that all your funniest tales are true, I also suspect that you've fuzzed enough details and perhaps deliberately conflated some happenings, so it would be very, very hard for there to be any repercussions on the criminals' rights legal front (personally, I think that's too bad; what most of these people really need is a very hefty portion of scorn & ridicule. But that's a rant for another day!) So again, unless someone is personally offended and looking for a reason to shut you down, I cannot see that being an issue, either.

Bottom line? I think you and your blog will be just fine, unless your current boss is really a jerk at heart. I doubt he is, or you'd have gone looking for other employment long ago.

Here's hoping!

Janean said...

So who's starting the "Save the LawDog" petition? :D
I feel confident that all will go well! Don't know what I'd do without my daily "LD" fix....

Rorschach said...

Lawdog, I feel for you and the dilemma you my find yourself in. If my boss were to tel me either the blog goes ot I go, it would be a painful choice but the blog, would go (at least as far as he'd be able to prove =D)

I enjoy the hell out of your writings, but if you had to close up shop, I'd understand completely. I'd hate to see it happen but what are ya gonna do right?

we had an HPD officer here in Houston that lost hs job for speaking out of turn to the media about a chase policy that he and most of the rest of the city thinks is idiotic. so I know that can happen when you strap on the the badge, gun and vest.

Anonymous said...

Just hide the Ratel series.

The boss might not take kindly to making fun of stupid officers and the creation of improvised flinging devices/

ben said...

I read one of the accounts. Since I read all your posts, I don't see how anything you write would interfere with investigation or prosecution of a case which is the main problem that officer seems to have with his sites. That and being in the wrong line of work to start with maybe. Of course if you start rapping certain bigots on the head you may have a problem but you probably would of already done that if you were going to.

Anonymous said...

Like you, I'm a deputy who blogs. And writes. And does those in the full knowledge that I serve at the pleasure of the Sheriff himself.

The secret is to write well, write about the job in broad-brush strokes and not piss anyone off. If the Sheriff reads it, he won't get his nose out of joint.

Nathaniel Firethorn said...

LD, please remember that 90% of the stuff that you worry about isn't worth worrying about. (The other 10% was worth it, but the worrying didn't help anyway.)

- NF

Kiki B. said...

I would hope that if the higher-ups in your department peruse your site, and decide that it might not be in the sherrif's office best interest to have this blog out there, that they would see how many of us support and respect you. And, in light of that, not only let you continue to blog, but encourage you to do so.

Anonymous said...

What kiki b. said. What you do here is PR for the image of the good, decent people in law enforcement. With so much in the news today about the bad ones, the good guys deserve equal time.

By your example, I've got reason to think my next encounter with a LEO, for whatever purpose, might be with someone like you. That should count for something.

Cindi

Matt G said...

It's a running joke that I can't get L.D. to let me take his picture. I have one on my hard drive in which, during a shooting session, I set up a camera with a timer and walked up behind him to place his arm in a come-along that he easily could apply to me if I were unaware. In the picture, everyone --me, Holly, Johnny, and the dogs-- are smiling. Except LawDog; he's grimacing.

L.D. stays pretty anonomous, believe me. :)

markhb said...

Ah, mate. That is... unpleasant.

I think it's because of the knowledge of personal freedom I enjoy so deeply when I'm in my home land (two words, thank you) that little nuggets like this really hit hard.

LawDog, if I didn't look like an idiot in a hat I'd take mine off for you. I can quite understand where you're coming from with the "need to write" and also the catharsis of venting spleen in an anonymous arena, governed only by one's conscience and personal ethics.

I'd miss your writing like hell if you signed off the Intertubes, but I'd feel worst if it cost you your job. I guess one could argue that Gubment employees - which covers LEOs in some shape or form - might have to live to more stringent standards than J. Random Keypecker.

Again, though, it seems to be a case of one person abusing the system - the WFPD cop forgetting the conscience-and-ethics bit - ruining it for the decent folk. I hope it doesn't come to that.

Thoughts are with you, chap.

Anonymous said...

DAmn straight, Dog, keep up the good work. I went out of country and really missed your site.

Anonymous said...

a lot of this might have a LOT more to do with the contents of "Officer" Love's webpage than with webpages themselves.

A fast nightmare for you:
Imagine your wife or mother driving through Wichita Falls ad being pulled over by Officer Love.

*twitch*

Pebcac said...

I'm just adding myself to the list of folks who would miss the hell out of your scribblings - I've read things here that simply brought me to tears of laughter - but I couldn't bring myself to ask you to give up bread and butter for them. Here's hoping it won't come to that.

kyrakai said...

When you work for the government, any government, things can get really dicey about what you can and cannot say or do. When you work for the Arizona State Government, you actually sign papers stating what you can and cannot do. You cannot even defend yourself from being maligned in print by a left wing local newsrag.

I have had to be careful about not discussing my job, even though some truly funny things happen.

So far, Law Dog has not crossed any lines that I am aware of. Keep up the good work. You are not a racist and I am thoroughly enjoying your twisted sense of humor.

ChargeOfQuarters said...

I hope you will not give this up; it is one of the better blogs out there.

Good luck...