York City Police: 121 FB posts from Plain View Project database associated with current, retired officers

YORK -- An online database called the Plain View Project released a report last week that reportedly showed police officers across the country making controversial posts.

A total of 3,500 Facebook posts were examined over at least a seven-year span and involved eight cities, one being York.

York City Police said in a release that of the 3,500 posts, 121 are associated with either current or retired officers. The department advised that 114  posts were from retired or former officers -- one retired officer having made 87 of the posts 16 years ago. The department added that another officer who issued a post left the force over 30 years ago.

One example of a post was when a retired officer re-posted a black man's arrest in the killing of a police detective in November 2016, saying he would have liked the see the suspect resist arrest and be killed.

According to York City Police, seven posts were made by current officers -- the most recent being from 2015; the oldest was in 2012.

The release said that Mayor Helfrich, Chief Bankert and internal affairs reviewed each post associated with York City.

York City Police noted that during this investigation, all posts were determined to have occurred either pre/post-employment.

The police department said that two posts of most concern were made from an officer who was, at the time of the posting, employed elsewhere.

"Since this was prior to his employment with the York City Police Department, no action can be taken," the release stated.

The five other posts were found to not advocate violence against citizens, but "officers must understand that while they retain their first amendment rights, their posts reflect the department and the profession, regardless if they are in violation of policy and/or collective bargaining agreement."

According to the department, meetings were held with all active officers to conveys the details of the findings and the protocol and consequences of violating departmental policy. A meeting was also held with local community leaders to relay the findings and the actions taken by the department.

"It was expressed by Mayor Helfrich and Chief Bankert to all officers that we have not and will not tolerate social media posts that diminish public trust of the police department," the release stated.

In regard to hiring, Mayor Helfrich and Chief Bankert added a search of social media for all newly hired officer’s background checks and psychological suitability since January 2018.

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