Association: Alleged RPD Double-Dipping 'An Accident Waiting To Happen'
Posted July 17, 2006 6:45 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Several Raleigh police officers are under investigation for allegedly collecting a paycheck for off-duty work while on the city clock, but at least one professional organization says the investigation was an accident waiting to happen.
The Raleigh Police Department's Internal Affairs Division is investigating at least six officers, confirmed by WRAL, for what is called double-dipping -- an officer working an off-duty security job when he or she is supposed to be on the clock for the department.
"The greater issue is that off-duty employment is so important to officers, because they don't get paid enough in the first place," said John Midgette, the executive director of the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association, which represents several of the officers under investigation.
The PBA said it blames the situation, in part, on an inadequate records-keeping system and said that the system does not always reflect whether an officer is on duty or has been granted time off to work an off-duty job.
"This was an accident waiting to happen in that the system they use to describe officers' time off and have it reflected on the roll-call process is a paper-and-pencil system," Midgette said.
"From my experience, I don't know any police officer who has ever been involved in activity like this," said Rick Armstrong, a Raleigh police officer who heads the Raleigh Police Protective Association.
The RPPA has 340 Raleigh officers who are members and said it has also received calls from some of those being investigated.
"There is a concern throughout the department about what's going on," Armstrong said. "Not only that people may lose their jobs but the black mark it leaves on the police department because of these allegations."
The police department will not comment on the allegations, but it does have a specific policy about off-duty work. That policy requires officers to get approval for any other job, but it does not require them to give specifics about hours and pay.
Raleigh Police Chief Jane Perlov is expected to hold a briefing later this week on the investigation. Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said he hopes to receive the police department's final report on the investigation within 30 days.
At minimum, the process by which officers work off duty could be overhauled. The PBA suggested a committee to oversee an overhaul, which would include representatives from the different police organizations.