NORWICH – A photo began circulating throughout the social media early yesterday – a photo not safe to print – that showed on duty officers with the Norwich Police Department giving an inappropriate gesture to the camera.
Within hours, the photo had been shared on Facebook more than 100 times, and garnered attention from the community, many of who expressed concerns regarding ramifications for the officers because of the nature of the photo.
According to Norwich City Police Chief Joseph Angelino, the photo was taken prior to Christmas last year.
The officers were in uniform, and the photo was captured at the police station. It was then sent to a co-worker who was on vacation in Florida at the time.
“I have seen the photograph in question,” said Angelino. “I saw the photo months ago, shortly after it was taken. It was sent to me at that time by a member of the public who had concerns.”
A member of the community wrote on Facebook, “These guys are paid by taxpayers to uphold the law with a certain amount of respect. What they do on their free time is completely up to them. However, they are in uniform and they are in a taxpayer's building.”
“My thought of this photo is harmless. These officers were joking around with their sergeant,” said Norwich resident Brian Hagenbuch. “Good morale makes for a good work place. These officers deal with a lot of bad things on a daily basis, they are human too. To be a police officer you have to have a sense of humor or the job will eat you alive.”
Another Chenango County resident commented on the photo, “They should have waited until their shift ended, took the uniform off and took the photo at home, in the parking lot or even at a bar having a few drinks where it is more acceptable.”
Said Angelino, “The matter was addressed internally at that time with appropriate measures.”