DPD issues new policy on jobs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

DEMOPOLIS – Moonlighting on the part of police officers is a touchy problem for some communities. However, the Demopolis Police Department has a policy and set of rules that deals with the types of outside jobs an officer can take.

The Demopolis Police Department distinguishes between two types of off-duty employment. Those two are regular off-duty employment and off-duty law enforcement employment. Regular off-duty employment means any employment not requiring the use or potential use of law enforcement powers. However, off-duty law enforcement employment is any employment that may require the use of law enforcement powers such as volunteer or charity work done by an officer in uniform.

After the case of Benson v. City of Birmingham, police departments state-wide adopted a policy much like the one in use in Demopolis.

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Prior to taking part in any type of employment off-duty, officers are required to submit a form to the chief describing the type of employment,

location, hours to be worked, employer, duties and if it is a one time event or something continuous.

As with any extra employment, off-duty police officers have to follow limitations. These limitations include: not being employed by an establishment that serves or sells alcohol; not being employed by a person that requires the officer to act as a divorce investigator, process server, repossessor, participant in eviction or bill collection or use police powers to collect money or merchandise.

The basic rules police officers must obey while being employed outside the department are: the secondary job cannot interfere with an officer’s job performance with the police department; officers are not required to carry a firearm when off duty; off-duty personnel must respond to situations of threatening or violent acts or criminal conduct in a reasonable manner to protect the public’s health, safety and welfare and the use of law enforcement authority by an off-duty officer must be in strict conformity to all rules and policies of the department.

The first and foremost job of any police officer is to serve and protect their community. Rules and regulations such as these are made to enforce that philosophy. The reputation of any police department has to be at the front of an officer’s mind to uphold respect the community has for his or her department. Upholding that reputation even flows into the type of jobs police officers can have off-duty. The policies and rules are used so that the community will not lose its faith and respect for the officers protecting it. Afterall, when the community loses faith and respect for any organization, that organization cannot properly carry out its responsibilities.