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Off-Duty Detail Ethics

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  • Off-Duty Detail Ethics

    My department has high ranking officials (third and fourth in command) hogging and monopolizing off-duty details. Patrolmen and new officers can't get details because these individuals work them all. We have no current policy concerning this (I have to write it) and I think my Chief would rather not have to stir up a hornet's nest. I need some advice on how to address this in a diplomatic way. The more I think about this situation, the angrier I get and that's not helping, either. I also don't want to get anyone in trouble or "take money from their family..." This is a dilemna and any help or insight would be greatly appreciated.
    "Being responsible sometimes means ****ing people off."

  • #2
    I dont know how much off duty you guys have available or how much is being hogged up, but if your writing the policy maybe think about putting a limit on how much an employee can work in a week. For example only allow 24 hours in a week for each employee. Or you can have guys pick off duty shifts on a rotating basis. for example everyone who puts in for off duty can go on the list first come first serve. Once they pick a detail they go to the botton of the list until all the others have either picked a job or passed on a job.

    Either of these options would put a little limit on how much you could work but will be fair across the board. It would be nice to say that command staff cant work it but like you said you dont want to **** anyone off.

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    • #3
      The issue for me is not writing the policy; that's pretty much already done. I think the only fair way to assign off-duty work is to have a clerk (or non-law enforcement personnel who can't work details) assign all the details using a method that's fair and balanced for all. That said, I think my issue here is recourse in the event I receive some type of retaliation for trying to remedy this problem. One of the officers I'm speaking about is already known for blocking certain people from working details if they **** him/her/it off! Citizens have also called requesting certain officers work their wedding and him/her/it said only he/she/it could work these details, no one else!
      "Being responsible sometimes means ****ing people off."

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      • #4
        Originally posted by nocode
        My department has high ranking officials (third and fourth in command) hogging and monopolizing off-duty details. Patrolmen and new officers can't get details because these individuals work them all. We have no current policy concerning this (I have to write it) and I think my Chief would rather not have to stir up a hornet's nest. I need some advice on how to address this in a diplomatic way. The more I think about this situation, the angrier I get and that's not helping, either. I also don't want to get anyone in trouble or "take money from their family..." This is a dilemna and any help or insight would be greatly appreciated.
        Have the same dilema at an agency I am about to resign from. I've got to say it is a very sticky situation. You hit it on the nail when you said "would rather not disturb the hornet's nest."

        If it helps any, I came from a well respected agency prior to the one I am at now, their policy was that you could sign up for as much as you wanted. However, if someone signed up as well for that same time slot/day and there was only one time slot available...it would go to the person who had not done that detail for a while. Lets say for instance smooth operator comes around, and DWI checkpoint comes around. John Smith who is a vet signs up for both of them.....a rookie comes along and signs up for DWI checkpoint, but he just did one the past week. Most likely John Smith would get both of the overtime slots. It plays fair on both courts......that way everyone is covered, and everyone has a fair chance at it. Good luck

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        • #5
          We go by an hourly system. Those with the least hours worked go to the top of the list. Rank is not considered unless it's a strike detail where a superior officer is required by contract.
          The People's Republic of Massachusetts

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          • #6
            No code,
            My dept.has a pretty extensive SOP on off-duty employment. If you'd like some of the details, PM me so I don't have to bore everybody else (Does anyone really enjoy reading SOP's? ).

            I will say however that only Lts. & below can work off-duty jobs here. White shirts are prohibited.

            Comment


            • #7
              Sounds like you have a small Dept and certain 'command' members are playing footlloose with money details. That can lead to corruption and certainly already has led to favoritism. This should not be allowed and your Chief is a very weak man for allowing it to happen as is the number 2 man. Maybe a anon phone call to the media is called for. It certainly should not remain the status quo.

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              • #8
                Here rates charged those who want special duty are set in our contract and the higher the rank the higher the pay per hour so lower ranks get more etc.

                Not sure how you can do anything if you have no union and no contract covering this work.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Your situation poses a number of questions:

                  1. When you say higher ups are hogging the overtime, do you mean managers? Managers are usually exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act and are prohibited from collecting overtime. If you agency has been paying them OT, there is a potential for a class action lawsuit that could costs your department big bucks.

                  2. Do you have a union? If so, they should be screaming bloody murder because managers and supervisors are working out of class, performing rank and file work, taking money away from union members. The term Unfair Labor Practice comes to mind. Again, this can be a big buck lawsuit issue,

                  I would do the following:

                  1. Unless the event specifically calls for the presence of a supervisor or manager to oversee the work of subordinates, OT needs to be restricted to rank and file members only.

                  2. Make a list of rank and file members. It can be done by seniority, alphabetically or by badge number, it really doesn't matter because you are going to cycle through the list.

                  3. When the first routine OT assignment comes in, it gets offered to the first person on the list. If they refuse, they have waived their OT rights for this cycle and it keeps going to the next person on the list until someone takes it. The next OT assignment goes to the next person on the list after the person who took the last assignment. If someone is off duty you will have to decide how you will handle the offer - will you call them at home, will you leave a note in their pigeon hole, etc.? How much time will you give them to respond before you deem them to have waived or no longer be eligible and go on to the next person on the list?

                  4. There are no rules regarding emergency OT (last minute matter - must be filled immediately). It just goes to whoever you can get.

                  5. If supervisors and managers are eligible for OT, it only goes to them if the presence of a supervisor or manager is required to oversee subordinates, or if it is an emergency, or if no one on the rank and file list wants the assignment. (You will also have to make OT lists for supervisors and managers.)

                  6. The OT assignments need to be made and recorded by the union steward or rep rather than by a supervisor or manager. Because the rep is supposed to represent the interests of ALL rank and file officers, he is less likely to be accused of favoritism. Plus, this limits the likelihood of supervision and management being accused of unfair OT distribution.

                  7. If you have a union, this needs to be a meet and confer issue. If the union buys off on it, this makes them the bad guy (rather than the department) when an officer is unhappy with the distribution system.
                  Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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                  • #10
                    My agency has a very simple policy on special event OT. You work an event, you name goes to the bottom of the list till everyone else has worked OT or declined. Its simple, fair & no one complains.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Sounds like you have a small Dept and certain 'command' members are playing footlloose with money details. That can lead to corruption and certainly already has led to favoritism. This should not be allowed and your Chief is a very weak man for allowing it to happen as is the number 2 man. Maybe a anon phone call to the media is called for. It certainly should not remain the status quo.- Cruiser- You're exactly right, but I don't want to give my department and those who work hard here a black eye. I don't want everyone to suffer for the sins of a few, but I want to make things right.

                      Our department has no union and the "higher ups" are senior officers (Captains) within the classified civil service. They are salaried employees and do not make overtime. The details they work are cash details (they receive payment at the end of the detail).

                      As an example, one of our captains is the only person who works weddings and functions at one of two rental halls here. He/she/it has the rental hall employees call him/her/it when someone wants to rent the hall for a party, wedding, etc. and he/she/it tells them he/she/it (LOL) is the only officer who works security there. If two officers are needed, he/she/it will choose her buddy to work with him/her/it.

                      Yes, my Chief is weak when it comes to this issue, which is why Number 2 can't do anything about it, also. I think something is holding him back from "doing the right thing." This is clearly unethical and corrupt and everyone acknowledges this, but they have families to feed and are scared to "buck the current system."
                      "Being responsible sometimes means ****ing people off."

                      Comment

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