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  • strange off-duty assignments

    My department was approached by a company that operates a factory within our jurisdiction. They expressed an interest in hiring off-duty officers to primarily provide security at the front gate and conduct safety checks of the parking lot and premises throughout the day and night. When discussing the duties in more detail they informed us that we would be required to check every vehicle entering the premises for equipment violations or expired inspection stickers. If any violations were found on an employee's vehicle we were to inform management. The employee would then be given one day to remedy the violation (i.e. get the vehicle fixed and/or inspected). If they failed to do so, they would continue to receive daily write-ups until they complied. Now the kicker is: For every write-up the employee must work one additional hour without pay (which supposedly they agreed to in writing when they applied for the job).

    I've never heard of an employer doing this...let alone using off-duty police officers to enforce it. Legalities aside, I find this practice unethical and reprehensible. They claim it is for "safety reasons" and "company image"...but to me, it seems like they're just using it to extort unpaid labor from minimum-wage assembly line workers who may not be able to afford to fix their vehicle.

    We told them we'd get back to them, but I'm tempted to just tell them to go pound sand. Thoughts?


  • #2
    Have them hire security guards. That whole issue is an FLSA lawsuit waiting to happen. You will be part of it as you are agents of the owners.

    The extra unpaid work is illegal.

    Dont touch it.
    Now go home and get your shine box!

    Comment


    • #3
      Not only would I not get involved, but I would contact the local media. Let the 6 o’clock news do some investigation and run a story about it. Screw them.

      It’s hard enough keeping cops in a positive light these days, we shouldn’t be out screwing working people over.
      I make my living on Irish welfare.

      Comment


      • #4
        A definite no.

        When a private business or individual contracts for police services, it’s traditionally because they are engaged in a temporary activity that may create an increased risk to public safety. For example, a company staging a major event may need to pay for officers for traffic control, to keep the local streets from getting jammed; a bar that gets an unruly crowd on a weekends may need to contract for officers to keep the peace; a large wedding in a neighborhood known for frequent disturbances may need to hire officers to keep the peace, etc. In such cases, officers are called upon to enforce the law solely for the purposes of maintain public safety and health and not to further the personal or financial interests of the person arranging for their services.

        However in this case, officers will be acting under the color of official right for the purpose of enforcing (what will no doubt be very unpopular) private labor rules of a private copmany, to the disadvantage of its employees.. This is not a legitimate police function.

        Law enforcement is supposed to be fair and unbiased. By accepting such an assignment it will appear to have sold itself and become the “Private Company Police.” If this occurs, employees of the company and members of the community may likely view the department as having a bias towards the company in all law enforcement matters because it is working for and being paid by them. The department cannot afford such a loss of credibility and confidence in the public’s eyes.

        In short, this is a private labor issue law enforcement has no business taking part in.
        Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by reils49 View Post
          Not only would I not get involved, but I would contact the local media. Let the 6 o’clock news do some investigation and run a story about it. Screw them.

          It’s hard enough keeping cops in a positive light these days, we shouldn’t be out screwing working people over.
          Yeah, that's what bothered me the most about this whole thing. We'd be targeting hard-working people who are just barely getting by as it is. They're exactly the kind of people we're usually willing to work with and cut breaks when we pull them over. Then do the complete opposite off duty and stick it to them for the sole benefit of some shady company? Nope, not in MY town.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by L-1 View Post
            However in this case, officers will be acting under the color of official right for the purpose of enforcing (what will no doubt be very unpopular) private labor rules of a private copmany, to the disadvantage of its employees.. This is not a legitimate police function.

            Law enforcement is supposed to be fair and unbiased. By accepting such an assignment it will appear to have sold itself and become the “Private Company Police.” If this occurs, employees of the company and members of the community may likely view the department as having a bias towards the company in all law enforcement matters because it is working for and being paid by them. The department cannot afford such a loss of credibility and confidence in the public’s eyes.

            In short, this is a private labor issue law enforcement has no business taking part in.
            I agree. Run this past your local prosecutor's office, or city attorney.

            Setting aside the violation of labor law for not paying the employee for hours worked, the company wants your officers to find state vehicle code violations, but not take proper police action by issuing citations. Instead, they want to be informed, so they can impose a company sanction... and get free hours out of their workforce. Essentially, they want to derive a benefit from violations of traffic law?

            You'd also be using state/fed databases in checking whether a registration or inspection is valid, in furtherance of company goals. In my state, the DOJ would lose it's mind if an agency did stuff like that without a valid criminal justice purpose.

            What would the company's position be, if you found an active arrest warrant for the employee? Warn him and send him to HR for a write-up?

            You can trust just about every officer you work with to risk their life to save yours, but don't ever leave your lunch in the breakroom refrigerator.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by L-1 View Post
              A definite no.

              When a private business or individual contracts for police services, it’s traditionally because they are engaged in a temporary activity that may create an increased risk to public safety. For example, a company staging a major event may need to pay for officers for traffic control, to keep the local streets from getting jammed; a bar that gets an unruly crowd on a weekends may need to contract for officers to keep the peace; a large wedding in a neighborhood known for frequent disturbances may need to hire officers to keep the peace, etc. In such cases, officers are called upon to enforce the law solely for the purposes of maintain public safety and health and not to further the personal or financial interests of the person arranging for their services.

              However in this case, officers will be acting under the color of official right for the purpose of enforcing (what will no doubt be very unpopular) private labor rules of a private copmany, to the disadvantage of its employees.. This is not a legitimate police function.

              Law enforcement is supposed to be fair and unbiased. By accepting such an assignment it will appear to have sold itself and become the “Private Company Police.” If this occurs, employees of the company and members of the community may likely view the department as having a bias towards the company in all law enforcement matters because it is working for and being paid by them. The department cannot afford such a loss of credibility and confidence in the public’s eyes.

              In short, this is a private labor issue law enforcement has no business taking part in.
              Thank you! This is very helpful. Most of our off duty work is crowd control for events and large venues, and traffic control for construction sites. This was definitely an unusual request. I have to justify turning down off duty assignments...and your thoughts will help me formulate a better-reasoned explanation than my initial reaction...which was "that's some f*cked up shady sh*t".

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Curt5811 View Post

                I agree. Run this past your local prosecutor's office, or city attorney.
                I'm leaning towards just turning the assignment down. But I may run it by the prosecutor's office next week out of curiosity.

                Setting aside the violation of labor law for not paying the employee for hours worked, the company wants your officers to find state vehicle code violations, but not take proper police action by issuing citations. Instead, they want to be informed, so they can impose a company sanction... and get free hours out of their workforce. Essentially, they want to derive a benefit from violations of traffic law?
                Yeah, pretty much.

                You'd also be using state/fed databases in checking whether a registration or inspection is valid, in furtherance of company goals. In my state, the DOJ would lose it's mind if an agency did stuff like that without a valid criminal justice purpose.
                For some reason they seemed to be aware that we couldn't just run plates. That's why they only mentioned equipment violations and expired inspection stickers. Those wouldn't require running plates and DLs.

                What would the company's position be, if you found an active arrest warrant for the employee? Warn him and send him to HR for a write-up?
                LOL. "Sir, you have a warrant for $2,500 in unpaid fines. Would you like me to take you to jail....or would you rather work for free for a week?"


                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by not.in.MY.town View Post
                  Thank you! This is very helpful. Most of our off duty work is crowd control for events and large venues, and traffic control for construction sites. This was definitely an unusual request. I have to justify turning down off duty assignments...and your thoughts will help me formulate a better-reasoned explanation than my initial reaction...which was "that's some f*cked up shady sh*t".
                  Your basic justification for rejecting the request is that this is not a law enforcement task and the function lies outside the mission of your agency.

                  FWIW, years back we had to provide about 40 officers for dignitary protection to a legislative VIP event. In planning the event, legislative staff asked that a uniformed officer be assigned to the entry point to take tickets from invited guests and turn away those without credentials. We refused, pointing out that taking admission tickets is not a law enforcement function. However, we did offer to post an officer at the entry point to keep the peace if anyone gave a hard time to the legislative staffer checking admission tickets and credentials. Function and mission are the key.
                  Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    So would your guys be working these in uniform ie police uniform or a security uniform??? What would happen if working this gig in your PD uniform and flagged down what happens then??? Sorry not a cop today just wearing the uniform work a security gig?? Just seems like to many issues. Let alone what was mentioned about running the plates
                    I'd rather be judged by 12 rather carried by 6.

                    It should be noted that any and all post that are made are based on my own thought and opinions. And are not related or implied to represent the department I work for.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Sooo they want a security detail....

                      Id definitely tell them to go pound sand.

                      That has bad idea written all over it, for several reasons already mentioned above.

                      I think contacting the prosecuters office or the media is a good idea too. There has to be some legality issues there.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I appreciate all the comments.

                        The issue I was having is that our policy prohibits off-duty security and LE-related work unless it goes through our agency. A frequent complaint from officers is that our agency does not offer "steady", scheduled off-duty work. As I mentioned above, most of our work is "as needed" for events and construction. A lot of officers would like to work regular, ongoing security gigs...which is exactly what this company would provide.

                        So for me to deny my officers this opportunity I need to justify it. I also need to provide the company with a basic explanation. I've drafted a document and will present it to my Chief on Monday for approval. If he signs off, then that's going to be the end of it. In the unlikely event that the Chief feels the explanation is deficient, I will present the issue to our city attorney for a legal opinion.

                        As far as getting the media involved...as a private citizen I'd love to. As a representative of my agency I don't think it would be appropriate (even if not done in an official capacity). I'd welcome opinions on this issue as well.
                        Last edited by not.in.MY.town; 04-07-2018, 12:30 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by not.in.MY.town View Post

                          As far as getting the media involved...as a private citizen I'd love to. As a representative of my agency I don't think it would be appropriate (even if not done in an official capacity). I'd welcome opinions on this issue as well.
                          Nope.........stay out of it.


                          It is not your job, duty, or business what this company is doing reference it's attempt to "fine" its workers who drive unsafe or improperly licensed vehicle onto their property. It's not illegal according to your state law or city ordinance.

                          As long as you are not involved by working this gig.............let it be.
                          Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                          My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            That's a 1983 lawsuit and a 242 criminal case waiting to happen. Stay far, far away.
                            Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                            I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

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