U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Off-Duty Employment: More Headaches for Police Administrators

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 47 Issue: 12 Dated: December 1999 Pages: 82-87
Arthur Sharp
Date Published
December 1999
6 pages
This article presents selected findings from a survey of U.S. police administrators regarding departmental policy toward off-duty employment of their officers.
The Bangor Police Department's (Maine) policy on outside employment epitomizes most administrators' approach to the issue. Its policy states that "Supplementary employment is not encouraged, but may be permitted with the approval of the Chief of Police." Forty-three percent of the respondents reported the following attitude toward officers' part-time jobs: "We don't care as long as the assignments don't interfere with members' job performance." Only 33 percent of the departments reported that they encourage off-duty assignments. In any case, police administrators pay close attention to the types of off-duty jobs performed by officers, with attention to the types of employers and how often the officers work. One concern about off-duty employment is the effect it might have on the department's image, as well as the officers' physical and mental conditions due to the additional workload. Another concern is liability; officers injured in the performance of off-duty jobs can leave their departments short-handed or cost them money. Only 48 percent of the respondents indicated that their departments' group health insurance policies cover injuries or illnesses incurred by officers while engaged in off-duty assignments. There is some concern among administrators that officers can abuse their police powers while performing off-duty jobs or that their uniforms, especially when they are armed, can upset civilians. This article provides examples of off-duty employment policies adopted by a number of departments across the country.