Detroit Police officers now have the opportunity to moonlight part-time as security guards as the result of a new ordinance that was passed by city council.
Moonlighting refers to when an individual is involved in activities or works outside of their primary employment.
The ordinance passed 5-3, with one member absent.
Originally, the city council voted 7-2 to establish a secondary employment program for off-duty police officers back on May 11th; but the ordinance by law could not take effect without a public hearing. This secondary employment program was drafted to allow police officers to work in uniform and use squad cars for a secondary employer.
Under the ordinance, the secondary employer will pay the hourly rate an officer earns, plus a $2 per hour user fee to cover the city's administrative cost of the program. This ordinance restricts an officer to not more than 30 secondary hours per week.
This ordinance ends the city practice of providing police at sporting events, concert venues, special events etc; and instead allows teams or promoters to hire off-duty officers for policing. Moonlighting is not a new phenomenon, it's common in several major cities throughout the U.S.
Recently, Wayne County passed a similar ordinance allowing uniformed Wayne County sheriff deputies to moonlight as security.
With budget deficits looming, moonlighting is being scrutinized in many communities. Detroit Police Assistant Chief Ralph Godbee said that the tab for 2009 to deploy officers during most of the sporting activities -- from more than two dozen officers for the Tigers' Opening Day game, to Red Wings games and nearly 200 officers for Lions' games-- came to roughly $1.5 million and the taxpayers footed the bill. Moonlighting, can offset the expense of providing police for the policing of events.
In other communities, sports organizations reimburse local their communities 100% for law enforcement cost, including the Detroit Pistons in Auburn Hills who pays 100% of the hourly cost to the Auburn Hills Police Department. That goes the same for Clarkston MI who pays Oakland County Sheriff deputies to police the DTE Energy Music Theater.
Mayor Dave Bing said that allowing off-duty uniformed officers to provide security in our neighborhoods and around businesses will make Detroit a safer city.
There is both support and opposition to this ordinance. There are questions about pertaining to liability issues and the question of does moonlighting stretch the police department too thin? There are some questions!!!
FYI: There is a program named the Moonlighting Liability Insurance Program which may ease some of the uncertainty and there is widespread support throughout the police department all the way up to the top-brass.
FYI: Moonlighting by police officers are not for hire at bars, strip clubs, etc. Moonlighting is intended for policing at sporting events, concert venues, special events, etc.