Mayor Tim Burgess signs the executive order to limit and begin further reform of moonlighting by Seattle police, flanked by Councilmember M. Lorena González and SPD command staff.

Burgess Seeks to Clamp Down on Police Moonlighting

The order follows revelations that the FBI is investigating SPD officers for working as private enforcers at parking lots and construction sites.

Seattle Mayor Tim Burgess signed an executive order Wednesday afternoon limiting extra work by Seattle police officers for third-party employers, following news of potential corruption among moonlighting officers. The order immediately requires those rent-an-actual-cop services to begin working through the Department rather than deciding on work assignments independently, and it assigns a task force to issuing further recommendations for regulating secondary employment before the end of Burgess’ term in November.

“We will not let the private interests of a few police officers tarnish our entire police department,” said Burgess after signing the order. In addition to potentially overworking police officers, he said, an unregulated secondary employment system for police creates potential liability for the city whenever sworn officers exercise police power in their capacity as private employees. The order does not eliminate moonlighting for Seattle police officers. These new rules, Burgess said “should have happened earlier, and as a councilmember maybe I should have done more.

“But I wasn’t mayor,” he said, “and now I am, and we’re acting.”

The order comes after The Seattle Times revealed the FBI was “investigating allegations that Seattle police officers, with the help of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (SPOG), may have engaged in intimidation and price- fixing while working lucrative off-duty jobs directing traffic at parking garages and construction sites.”

“It is clear that we need a total overhaul of how this city handles the practice of police officers taking secondary jobs,” said Burgess in a pre-written statement. “Bringing the management of SPD secondary employment in-house is both in line with national best practices and consistent with recommendations from City Auditor, the Director of the Office of Police Accountability, and the federal monitor.”

The order does several things. First, it establishes “an internal [SPD] office, directed and staffed by civilians, to regulate and manage the secondary employment of its employees.” Second, it creates an interdepartmental task force to work in consultation with SPOG, the city attorney, the Community Police Commission, and a slew of other people and groups in order to recommend more permenant rules on moonlighting cops. The deadline for recommendations is November 14, not long before Burgess will be replaced by either Cary Moon or Jenny Durkan.

“The leadership of this City has expressed concerns regarding the secondary employment system for years,” said Councilmember M. Lorena González in a written statement. “I commend Mayor Burgess for his commitment to good governance that will promote accountability, and for his Executive Order that will help us resolve this long-standing issue once and for all.”

Burgess said he talked with SPOG about the executive order Wednesday morning, but didn’t want to speak on their behalf. Not long after Burgess signed the order, SPOG posted an unrelated Tweet alleging unfair labor practices by the city.

Later, SPOG said in a written statement that it will “be taking legal action on this order,” which the union says is a circumvention of state law governing collective bargaining agreements.

“Officers have worked secondary jobs for decades as a means to supplementing their income,” read the statement in part.

“Current SPD Policy states that Officers are required to have an off duty work permit for each and every secondary job they work…Why the need for another Executive Order? If there are changes sought by the City, why can’t those changes be accomplished at the bargaining table? This is yet another example of the City violating the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and State Labor Law. SPOG ALWAYS follows the CBA and State Labor Law!!”

cjaywork@seattleweekly.com

This post has been updated.

More in News & Comment

Paul Allen, shown in 2015. Courtesy of the Herald
Paul Allen Dead at 65

Microsoft co-founder, developer, and philanthropist struggled with cancer for decades

Le family attorneys Linda Tran and Jeff Campiche stand on either side of Tommy Le’s parents, Hoai Le and Dieu Ho, at the Dat Lat Quan Vietnamese restaurant in White Center on Oct. 14. Photo by Josh Kelety
‘We’re Not Going to Give Up’: Vietnamese Community Rallies for Tommy Le

Over a year after law enforcement fatally shot the 20-year-old Burien resident, family and community members remain galvanized to seek justice.

County Officials to Use Downtown Seattle Jail as Homeless Shelter

The facility will house between 125 and 150 people, allow for 24-hour access, and likely won’t require that individuals be sober to stay there.

State Supreme Court Strikes Down Death Penalty

All nine justices found the use of capital punishment in Washington state unconstitutional and racially biased.

Incarcerated and Infirmed: How Northwest Detention Center Is Failing Sick Inmates

Inadequate medical care plagues immigrants at the facility, but ICE claims otherwise.

DNA Under Girl’s Fingernail Leads to Attempted Kidnapping Charge

Teen scratched man’s face after he forced her into vehicle near Kent

Executive Constantine Reforms Police Deadly Force Inquest Process

The changes come after community members and advocates called the system biased in favor of law enforcement.

Most Read