San Francisco Cop Suspended for His Photo Hobby

San Francisco Cop Suspended for His Photo Hobby

When off duty, Officer Gared Hansen enjoys shooting (photographing, that is) nude models as mermaids and other magical beings. But when his department found out about the extracurriculars, they suspended him -- Internal Affairs even looked into him after that. Naturally, Hansen sees it as a fun hobby. But the SFPD says that it reflects poorly and in bad taste upon the department...

I'm inclined to think, "So what? He can do what he wants in his free time as long as he's not representing the actions as department-sanctioned." What do you guys think? At this point, after being suspended on two separate occasions, Hansen has supposedly been getting the 'bad' jobs, like transporting prisoners.

Read the full story on Slate.

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33 Comments

Adam Cross's picture

Surely it reflects poorly on SFPD if they're shown to be more concerned about their public image than they are about doing important things like actual crime instead their focus is on employee hobbies - the guy isn't doing anything wrong or illegal, surely it would reflect badly if he turned out to be a drug lord rather than someone who just likes to photograph Cosplay

Wow....I have a hobby outside of work on my OWN FREE TIME. I do not advertise where I work or do...What right does your employer have? What next? You company can tell you what to eat and when to when you are not working? FOR SHAME SAN FRANCISCO PD. I would be embarrassed as a servant to the public.

Steven Cohn's picture

Maybe they complained about not using the rule of thirds or not pulling out the shadows enough.  There's not even enough fill light on her face.  I'd suspend him too.

 If you get a chance go to his website linked on Slate...it gets much, much worse.  The photography, not the story.  I don't think he should be fired from his cop job, in fact I think he should focus completely on his cop job because his photography...not so much.

Wow. Are they even allowed to do that? Does it say anywhere in his contract he can't shoot nudes in his spare time?
I tink it's RIDICULOUS. The guys should be able to do whatever he damn well pleases.

Ralph Hightower's picture

In the Slate article, sheriff deputies encountered him tresspassing on private property. I can't do that: trespass on private property. I would get arrested!

He said "It's okay. I'm an SFPD officer."

So police officers even when off duty have a right to trespass on private property?

I think there is more to it than we know. There has to be a reason why the two are conflicting and they aren't mentioning it. First, it's SF, one the most liberal "ok with anything" cities, and so are a lot of the police. Something about this doesn't seem to add up to me. 

In the article on slate they mentioned that he was found trespassing on private property with two models. This is what I think caused some of the issues, "When asked why he was there, Hansen identified himself as an SFPD officer and said that he was taking photos."

I don't think my boss would be really impressed that I was caught trespassing and telling people where I work. Also he is trying to use his Police credentials to get away with trespassing in an effort to advance his hobby.

Maybe that's his 12 year old step-daughter that's naked on the rock there?

Um, gee, in the Slate article, Hanson identified himself as an SFPD officer when sheriff deputies found him trespassing on private property. If he identified himself as a private citizen, then the situation and outcome should've been different.

But I see no reason for suspension for something that is legal for an individual citizen to do. Just don't when caught say "It's okay. I'm an SFPD officer." Using that police officer title sometimes grants priviledges that private citizens don't have.

Curtis David's picture

Everyone is a critic. It's his HOBBY.  Oh, I forgot you were all experts when starting out.  Jeez...

I missed something here...was the embarrassing thing being a photographer or being a policeman in SF?

Umm, normally I wouldn't think that nude art as a hobby would be your employers business. As artists many can recognize the beauty of the human body and I mean the guy has good ideas for photoshoots. The problem I have with his pictures (and yes i looked up his website) is that first of all they suck so much, that it is really hard to defend it as being art, theyre really bad pictures....like horrible! As for the nude part, well a curve here and a breast there is pretty, but in his case were talking legs spread full on view....its not my type of art and it borders porn material and I think this is were the PD went kind of crazy. It looks creepy, like really creepy. so no, what I don on my spare time is not my emloyers business, but I hope my friends and family will stop me if i ever publish such shitty stuff.

 neither.....is pictures are....

Shooting adult films on the hood of his work vehicle? Sure, write him up. This? And SFPD!! has a problem with it? That seems odd coming from a place known for being pretty open with this kind of thing.

I call BULLSHIT!

Idiots only care about their reputation, F-ing politics...

he can do what ever he wants, on hes free time, simple!

Esser2's picture

It's time the USA gets past it's prepubescent stage, being a couple hundred years old and all... 

The story is misrepresented here. According to the Slate article, he was trespassing and then identified himself as an officer, misusing his job privilleges to gain advantages for his personal project. That is clearly inacceptable and the department was absolutely right to suspend him.

If, however, he had done his shoot legally and just as a hobby as a private person, suspending him would indeed have cast a bad light on his department. However, this is not the case.

The quality or taste of his work is not the issue here. The problem is that he thinks he is above the law.

Unfortunately, most police departments, heck, most government agencies for that matter, have a policy that all employees agree to abide by whether on the clock or off the clock. While worded differently from place to place it pretty much says "engaging in any behavior that could potentially bring discredit to the government entity is forbidden, and violation of such policy is punishable up to termination." This isn't the first cop to be in trouble for shooting nudes in his off duty time and he won't be the last.

I see no difference than if he were a painter and used live (nude) models when painting. Move on folks, nothing wrong here.

Jason's picture

Is this one of the photos? Suspend him for taking crappy weird pictures.

I know very little about art and am just getting into photography, so far be it from me to critique anyone’s work, but I think the images on his site (via Slate) would raise a red flag with any reasonable employer. To me, there is nothing morally wrong with the images (doesn’t mean I like them), but if there’s a line between artistic and slightly creepy, I think they fall on the slightly creepy side. Perhaps he just needs more experience to get the artistic look he’s seeking.

incomprehensible decision by SFPD!

The SFPD reflect badly upon the SFPD. It's a horrible example of "protect and serve" 

Really, the most liberal, sanctuary city in the world thinks this is in bad taste... what about letting a multi convicted illegal immigrant free to roam the city and kill a family of three - simply for driving down the wrong street.   In bad taste in the city of free love this guy needs a promotion!

The ONLY reason the SFPD "should" suspend this guy is if he was acting in his role as a SFPD officer during these nude shoots ... as in, "Hey, let me pull over my squad car next to the beach and take some pictures of naked women while I'm wearing my uniform."

If he wasn't actively on duty and wasn't actively representing the SFPD then they have no business telling him what he can or cannot do in his free time ... as long as he isn't breaking any laws. Maybe if he was shooting in a public area and didn't have a permit then they can suspend him for "breaking the law" because he didn't have the correct permits for location photography ... but that's about it.

However, as an earlier comment points out, most police departments hold officers to a higher (almost unreasonable) standard. For example, I'm friends with a police officer in my home town and I once asked him why he always carries a gun (even to school functions for his kids) when he isn't on duty. He told me, "When I took this job I was told 'you are ALWAYS on duty ... even when you aren't on duty' and so I'm a cop 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

What do you expect from cops anyway? Maybe he should have smuggled drugs or something in his spare time...he would have got some nice pats on the back instead...

All you guys missed the point here... it's not all about his hobby but his improper use of his 'badge' for his personal use.  It is punishable by fine, suspension, or termination if an off duty cop used his badge or just saying he's with the PD to get favors that you couldn't.  Obviously, that's what this cop did.  That's all.

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