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Trump post leads to officer’s censure

Endorsement viewed on city’s police media site

WARREN — Warren police officer Brian Crites received a written reprimand Tuesday from police Chief Eric Merkel for reposting a National Fraternal Order of Police endorsement of President Donald Trump on the Warren Police Facebook page.

In the reprimand letter, Merkel stated Crites told him the endorsement was placed on the Warren Police Department page one day earlier by accident when he was attempting to place it on the local Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 34 Facebook page. Crites is the administrator of that page.

Subsequently, the endorsement was removed from the Warren Police social media site – but not before it was noticed by others.

Crites was charged with breaking city policy that states officers representing the city shall not engage in political activities on social media. He also broke a rule that states employees shall not perform partisan political activities using city resources.

He waived his right to have a predisciplinary hearing, and the written reprimand was placed in Crites’ personnel file.

Warren established its social media policy July 9 in response to advancements in technology, information available through the internet and the increasing rate at which society uses and relies on the information. It forced the city to look closely at the manner in which its employees access and use that information in their representation of the city.

Within the social media policy, employees are warned about transmitting images or sound recordings that have likenesses or of city logos, patches, etc.

After learning about the Facebook post, Safety Service Director Eddie Colbert promised a full investigation would follow.

“Personal political views do not represent the opinion of the city of Warren as a whole,” Colbert noted.

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