This Article traces the First Amendment caselaw that, for more than half a century, has sided with speakers facially challenging overbroad workplace policies that forbid sharing information with the press and public. The Article then reports on the results of a nationwide survey of police and sheriff’s department policies by the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, concluding that well over half of the nation’s biggest law enforcement agencies have rules on the books that resemble—or are identical to—those struck down as unconstitutional when challenged, at times in defiance of binding circuit-level precedent. The Article examines why these legally dubious policies persist in spite of overwhelming precedent and identifies a handful of narrowly tailored agency policies taking a balanced approach toward employee speech that can serve as models. Ultimately, the Article concludes, it will take legislative action to unshackle the voices of America’s law enforcement officers, since litigation alone has done little to deter persistent enforcement of “gag rules” that deprive the public of the benefit of candid information about how the ultimate governmental power—police power—is being used.
LoMonte, Frank D. and Terkovich, Jessica
"You Have the Duty to Remain Silent: How Workplace Gag Rules Frustrate Police Accountability,"
Akron Law Review: Vol. 55:
1, Article 1.
Available at: https://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/akronlawreview/vol55/iss1/1