A photo posted to a social media website that some claim shows a Broward County deputy possibly texting while driving has started a massive online debate about whether deputies are required to abide by Florida's new law.
The picture was posted to Reddit on Wednesday with the headline, "Texting and driving is illegal in Florida. I guess some people are having a hard time adjusting to the new law... "
Since then about 400 of the more than 7,500 redditors who saw the submission have decided to weigh in, providing their perspective on the law.
The top comment on the thread says that it's legal for officers of the law to use electronic devices while driving, but when it comes to cellphones, that's not always true.
The Broward County Sheriff's Office has a detailed policy when it comes to cellphone usage, and texting while driving is strictly prohibited.
"Cellular telephone usage, including but not limited to, talking, listening, navigational systems, wireless internet, video-taping or photographing is prohibited while driving a BSO-assigned vehicle on or off duty unless a hands-free operational device is available," the policy reads.
In Orange County, there is not yet a policy for deputies using cellphones while driving, however, a spokeswoman with the Orange County Sheriff's Office said deputies are expected to abide by Florida's ban on texting while driving, which went into effect Oct. 1.
The deputy featured in the photo is not currently being investigated because it's difficult to tell from the photo if the deputy was actually driving or if he was pulled over or parked, according to Broward County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Keyla Concepcion.
"We urge the person who took the picture to file a complaint with our Internal Affairs Department to provide the information needed to determine if there was a violation of policy," Concepcion said in an email.
The original Reddit poster, who goes by the username OMGItsTheEric, has not filed a complaint and did not respond to a request for an interview.
A link to the post is available here.