JACKSON, Miss. — Firefighters can no longer post photos of themselves in uniform or posing with city equipment on Facebook, says a memo from the Jackson, Miss., fire chief.
Chief Raymond McNulty issued the memo this week after a former fire official posted on Facebook that only two of 28 city fire recruits had passed a minimum standards test, according to the Clarion Ledger.
Former JFD Assistant Chief Tony Davis posted, "I just received some disturbing news about the City of Jackson Fire Dept. The 2011 Fire Recruit Class that was suppose [sic] to graduate in October of 2011, all but 2 recruits failed their qualification test for firefighter. Although they fail we cannot fault them because this is the second or third firefighter recruits class that have [sic] the majority of them failing."
Although that number was correct, Chief McNulty has also asked his firefighters not to post inaccurate information or comments that could hurt the department on their social networking profiles.
"Employees should be honest in their use of social media and maintain high regard for the public interest," the memo says. "All information disseminated should be completely accurate."
The memo also says that firefighters shouldn't publicly discuss information that could be detrimental to JFD or its employees; shouldn't post content that is inconsistent with the duties and ethics of a firefighter (such as racist or sexist comments or rumors) and shouldn't use aliases. Firefighters may comment on public matters but not personal gripes or off-duty activities. They are also discouraged from using online dating sites.
Finally, the memo asks firefighters to state that they are expressing their own opinions, not those of the department.
The city may review employees' electronic communications while they are using department-issued computers or phones at any time.
"[Chief] McNulty is trying to dictate how a person can address the issues or the events in a public forum," Firefighter Davis said.
Chief McNulty told the Clarion Ledger that the memo was intended to make firefighters aware of the official rules of the city. But city spokesman Chris Mims said Jackson does not have a social media policy yet.