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Gratuities: Pay Now or Later

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 76 Issue: 4 Dated: April 2007 Pages: 8-12
Charlie Sewell
Date Published
April 2007
5 pages
This article identifies issues involved in a law enforcement agency's policy toward officers receiving gratuities from local businesses, such as discounts on food officers consume at local restaurants.
When police officers receive discounts and "freebies" from local businesses that civilian customers do not receive, officers and their agencies are vulnerable to criticism that they are receiving and expect to receive special treatment, taking advantage of the kindness of citizens who operate businesses. On the other hand, a strict policy that does not allow any gifts to officers and agencies in appreciation for their services may also bring negative reactions from the public. Some departments have policies that regulate the exact dollar amount of an acceptable gratuity. Others forbid officers to accept anything of value for performing their official duties, except when given permission by the agency. Other agencies require officers to notify their superiors when they receive gifts from individuals, businesses, or organizations with which the agency has a business relationship. Whatever policy is adopted, it should be made clear to the public and particularly to local businesses. It might be best to include representatives from the business community and community organizations in the development of an agency's gratuity policy. 3 notes