Police clarify social media policy after viral 'dancing cop' told not to post

Courtesy: Officer Tommy Norman - An officer showcases his community police efforts by having a dance party with kids at a bus stop in North Little Rock, Ark. Tuesday, Sept. 15 2015.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A police officer with more than a million followers on instagram will no longer be able to post on social media during his shift because of a new department policy.

The North Little Rock Police Department clarified Thursday however, that any content published to social media from an on-duty officer first needs to be approved by their media relations unit.

Officer Tommy Norman is known for his positive interactions with the community - that led to his posts to go viral on social media.

His viral May 2015 photo shaking hands with a young girl quickly garnered national attention, as Rapper "Killer Mike" sang Norman's praises.

In another post, published in September of that same year, he's seen dancing with kids at a bus stop to "Hit The Quan."

Now, he and other officers are prohibited from posting on social media while on city time - at least not until that content is approved.

"It is unfortunate, I had to respect the decision although I'm not happy with it," Norman explained on his Instagram page.

In a statement released Thursday, the NLRPD explained they wanted him "to continue his work in the community and that we would support future social media postings of his work."

"Officer Norman started his own foundation about a year ago and advised us of his intentions. The department fully supports his desire to operate his own foundation. We discussed the importance of ensuring that no conflict of interest occurred with his work as a North Little Rock Police Officer and his work through the foundation. There has to be a distinct separation between the department and his foundation and the work he does for both. This is necessary to protect the integrity of all our officers; including Officer Norman and the department."

In the Arkansas community, Norman is known for his "Back To School" event where he distributes backpacks and sneakrs to children in need or as the lead officer for the Star Student Program at local schools. He also coordinates holiday programs like "Shop With A Cop" and the "Season Of Giving."

He was named "Officer of the Year" in 2012.