When you think of people who love taking photos of themselves, it’s easy to think of preening teens and flexing gym devotees. Girls posing in the bathroom mirror before a big night out or young adults flashing the peace sign at a summer music festival decked out in hippie garb.
But people of all ages, looks, and occupations take selfies – as evidenced by a popular Tumblr blog called CopSelfies that collects and publishes some of law enforcement’s finest more narcissistic moments. CopSelfies humanizes police officers because it shows that they’re just as concerned with getting that perfect snapshot as the rest of us are.
Even though the CopSelfies Tumblr is really more endearing than anything else, it appears the NYPD does not like the idea of their officers posting photos of themselves in uniform. To this end, they’ve launched an internal investigation into instances when officers post photos of themselves online, especially on dating sites like OKCupid. The New York Post reported that violators can get fired, so police officers with pictures of themselves in uniform are yanking these photos offline in droves.
The NYPD said it enforces its social media policy to prevent officers from embarrassing themselves, and the policy is likely a safeguard to minimize the instances where police officers say or do something dumb online and it’s obvious that they’re working for the NYPD. And if a police officer feels as though they need to highlight their uniform in order to catch a date, they’re probably going after the wrong sort of people.
Still, this investigation seems like it’s a lot of focus on a fairly trivial issue, especially since the NYPD has plenty of other things to worry about. But apparently law enforcement around the country is concerned with the impact of selfies – the CopSelfies Tumblr has been put on pause after too many complaints against it, leaving the author to issue a tirade about police: “CopSelfies are illegitimate selfies complicit in the fetishism of violence by the guards of capitalism, maintained by the State with illegitimate authority.”
The site has also been given a stern warning that it will be terminated if it continues to post these photos.
Way harsh. But whether you’d click on a smiling lady in uniform on eHarmony or you think cop selfies are a tool of the hegemony, as long as the NYPD thinks they make their officers look dumb and the Tumblr collecting them continues to get hit, then they may very well be a thing of the past.