Reaction Mixed To Results Of Raleigh Police Audit
Posted October 20, 2006 9:59 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — An audit of off-duty work practices found that 104 officers in the Raleigh Police Department violated departmental policy.
The police department started an internal probe after a routine audit in May uncovered irregularities in off-duty employment records. WRAL had learned six officers were being investigated for working an off-duty security job when they were supposed to be on the clock for the department.Video: Officials React To Results Of Raleigh Police Audit
Read Audit Report
The department turned six cases over to the Wake County District Attorney's Office for review. A decision by the district attorney concerning prosecution is expected in the near future.
About 600 of the department's 730 sworn officers are authorized to work two jobs. A city ordinance even requires that certain businesses use uniformed security, and most of those businesses use off-duty police officers. Officers have been able to set their own work schedules after receiving approval from the department to work the off-duty jobs.
An audit of work records since January 2005 showed the 104 officers compiled 150 violations, almost half of which involved working more than 14 hours a day both on- and off-duty. Sixty violations involved officers not having a valid contract, and 19 were determined to be double dipping by working a security job and patrol duties at the same time.
"In the scheme of things, they were mostly minor violations, and they were committed very infrequently," police department spokesman Jim Sughrue said. "I think we found a lot of integrity in the system, but we certainly found some room for improvement."
All 104 officers also face internal discipline. The measures could include verbal counseling, written counseling forms, written reprimands and loss of off-duty work privileges, officials said.
The Police Benevolent Association, which represents 580 Raleigh police officers, said the report puts too much blame on the officers and not enough on the department.
"I was disappointed to see in the report that there was not more emphasis put on what is actually structurally wrong with the system," PBA president John Midgette said. "We're hoping with meetings with the chief that we will be able to explore those definciencies and come up with some solutions on that."
Midgette plans to meet with Police Chief Jane Perlov next week about making changes to the off-duty system.
However, Rick Armstrong, who heads up the Raleigh Police Protective Association that represents more than 300 officers, said the department is headed in the right direction.
"I think something needed to be done with off duty," Armstrong said.
Armstrong said that so far, the union is comfortable with the punishment that's been handed down.
"Nothing unreasonable, nothing I've received from any officers, no complaints from any officers," Armstrong said.
As part of its internal investigation, the department already has outlawed officers' receiving cash payments for off-duty work and now requires a centralized system for coordinating off-duty work schedules.