Meeker Calls For Tighter Oversight Of Off-Duty Police Work
Posted August 3, 2006 4:33 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — The Raleigh Police Department needs more oversight of off-duty officers' work schedules, Mayor Charles Meeker said Thursday.
The department's internal affairs unit is investigating officers who allegedly racked up a number of off-duty hours and pay while on duty or violated other regulations regarding off-duty employment. Currently, officers must get their off-duty jobs approved, but their wages and hours are between the officer and the private business.
Although the investigation isn't complete, Meeker said the system for tracking off-duty work needs improvement.
"I think by having clear rules and clear monitoring of those rules, we'll be able to avoid any serious problems in the future," he said.
Employers Using Off-Duty Officers
Once the internal investigation is complete, Meeker said he and the City Council would work with the department to develop a plan to monitor off-duty work. That could include designating someone to oversee the program, implementing new policies or updating computer applications, he said, adding that Raleigh should look at what other police departments do to see what works.
The investigators have obtained officer work records from several area employers so far, including Alltel Pavilion.
"Approximately four weeks ago, we were initially contacted by the Raleigh Police Department just as an initial inquiry for records relating to hours worked for all of their off-duty police officers," Alltel General Manager Emma Bennett said.
The venue uses as many as 20 off-duty officers per show. Officers are paid $25 to $28 an hour, which adds up to more than $30,000 per season. Bennett said Alltel cooperated with the police department and believes the issue is between the officers and the department.
"They're responsible for their own personal ethics and that sort of thing. We like to stay out of that and just have our faith in the police department themselves and the service they provide to us. They are a vital asset to our organization and to the safety of the patrons out here," she said.