Local News

Officers objecting to proposed rule on off-duty work

Posted January 27, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— Some Raleigh police officers are not happy about a proposed off-duty work policy that would limit their hours.

In 2005, a double-dipping probe found problems with officers working off-duty jobs while they were still supposed to be on patrol.

The draft policy would bar officers from working off-duty in the six hours prior to their patrol shifts.

Off-duty police policy causing a stir with officers Off-duty police policy causing a stir with officers

About 80 percent of the officers in the department work off-duty jobs.

"A lot of officers rely on off-duty (work) because of the lack of overtime and lack of a competitive salary that the police department offers,” said Sgt. Rick Armstrong, with the Raleigh Police Protective Association.

Police Chief Harry Dolan said, "We want them to have some type of a rest period before. And I think it is very reasonable and very prudent, and I think that the citizens would want me to have a policy that would guarantee some sort of a rest period.”

The new policy would also change how officers are paid. Currently, they are treated as independent contractors. Under the proposal, businesses would have to treat them as employees.

Officials with the Police Benevolent Association and the Raleigh Police Protective Association, groups representing police officers, say it would be an added expense for businesses to do that and could lead to fewer off-duty jobs.

"We are going to try and set up a meeting with Chief Dolan to try and talk with him about some of these changes because there are some very serious concerns,” Armstrong said.

In May 2006, a routine internal police department audit of work records since January 2005 showed 104 officers compiled 150 violations, almost half of which involved working more than 14 combined hours a day on and off duty.

The department disciplined more than 100 officers for violating off-duty work policies, and six cases were turned over to the Wake County District Attorney's Office for review.

Sgt. David Murphy, a 27-year veteran of the Raleigh Police Department who retired in August 2006, was one of two officers charged following the probe. Authorities said the department and the North Ridge Country Club paid him for the same 29 hours of work.

Murphy was sentenced to 45 days in jail, suspended to one year on unsupervised probation. Murphy was also ordered to repay the police department and the country club $710.10 and to perform 29 hours of community service.

Lt. Charles Bryant pleaded guilty to three counts of larceny and was sentenced to one year of probation and 51 hours of community service and was ordered to pay nearly $1,700 in restitution and court costs.

Now, officers must submit a detailed report of their off-duty work every two weeks, and all assignments must come through the department. Also, businesses must pay officers with a corporate check for their security services and can no longer pay them in cash.

The chief said Tuesday that he is willing to listen to concerns about the new off-duty proposal. However, Dolan says the policy is a result of feedback from officers and other personnel.

The policy is scheduled to take effect April 15.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • cmama312 Jan 29, 2009

    "There is nothing -- repeat nothing special about law enforement."

    This from the guy who calls himself Superman. I'm laughing out loud right now. I suppose you think you're pretty special referring to yourself like that. Perhaps SuperArrogant is a more fitting title. And I still haven't seen you step up and let us all know what Mr. Superman's salary is compared to the cops. I have a good feeling you're spouting off because you don't need to work off duty to support your family.

  • sunneyone Jan 29, 2009

    From the Raleigh Police Website: "Starting Salary Range $34,291.59 to $50,283." In a two family income, that's a decent wage. I'm sorry, but the days of middle class men working while the wife stays home are over in America. Again, if you're making that kind of money, look at your lifestyle and see if there are some changes you can make. Do you eat out every day? Maybe start taking meals. My husband worked construction and he took his lunch every day in a cooler with ice packs. Are you constantly going to Starbucks for coffee? Think about it, if you go to McDonalds and get a value meal, then go to Starbucks for a coffee drink, you're spending about 15 bucks. Say you do that 5 days a week, that's $75.00 a week, That's over $300.00 a month. Those "little things" add up! There is so much that we say we "NEED" and we don't really.

    I'm not unsympathetic, but there are so many people who don't have. People upset over losing overtime isn't that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.

  • tanner Jan 28, 2009

    familymatters said: "Hey Ex-RPD - The story says over 100 were referred to the DA's office... that's more than your so called "very few ever did"...."

    Six were referred to the DA's office. Try reading the article again.

  • oldcorp Jan 28, 2009

    "There is nothing -- repeat nothing special about law enforement"-superman
    That is very much a mistruth. This is evidenced by the very special men and women who willingly swear to serve and protect even those such as you, the ungrateful and super-critical.

  • superman Jan 28, 2009

    There is nothing -- repeat nothing special about law enforement. Many people in many occupations put their lives on the line every day--so why are they special? Many people have to work shift work, and do whatever is necesary that their job requires. EMT, anyone who works in the medical field, correctional officers, military Let them all quit and just see how soon they will and can be replaced. Remember the Traffic Controllers some years ago? When you get to feel that you are "special" it is past time for you to move on! It is imperative to your safety to arrive at work well rested and alert. You put yourself in extreme danger as well as others when you dont. Give up the 150.00 cell phone and the 100 cable bill and you may not have to work those extra hours. Losing your job-- really helps for you to realize that you can live cheaper.

  • Foxtrot Delta Tango Jan 28, 2009

    Here's an idea: why not just pay police officers a decent salary? I'm not an LEO but if the you-know-what hits the fan and I need help guess who I'm calling. It's worth it to have veteran officers in addition to rookies. We need to pay at a rate that officers stick around and even come here from other places.

  • Fiddlemom Jan 28, 2009

    I agree with RPD wife.
    My husband is also and LEO and has several off-duty jobs and he doe not do it for fun. We have to do it to pay the bills, period.

  • rpdwife Jan 28, 2009

    NC4Now- The officers HAVE to work the off duty and that is to just live. That isnt for large homes and big screen tv's. That is living week to week. If my husband dosent work of duty we will be hurting for the basics. However the city is kind enough to pay enough to where we don't qualify for any assistance either. So when they change the off duty policy it will effect my family in a larger way.

  • oldcorp Jan 28, 2009

    This should be interesting to watch play out. After 3 decades with RPD and retired now, I know that my family would have been in dire straits without my off-duty employment over the years. Did I have to? Did that mean we wintered in Cozumel? No, and we could have lived at a much lower economic scale, but that is not what I wanted. I wanted to serve the community AND provide the best for my family.
    The policy-makers within the PD all make salaries that make any consideration of secondary employment laughable. They work M-F 8 hour days in the comfort of a climate-controlled building and then drive a shiny-new issued SUV home. Not one has any worry over incoming bills.

  • NCTeacher Jan 28, 2009

    Cops make about the same as beginning teachers in most cities around here. And our pay is pitiful. We do live within our means, but if my husband and I had children to support- we would probably both have to work second jobs. And not to buy big screen tv's either- just to keep the light bill paid and groceries in the house.

    I completely sympathize with these officers and hope the government does not force them out of their part time work. I figure if someone is smart enough to make it through the training to be a police officer- they are probably smart enough to know when they need sleep.