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Seattle mayor aims to rein in off-duty work by officers

In this Jan. 20, 2017, photo, Seattle police officers dressed in protective gear stand during a protest in front of Kane Hall on the University of Washington campus where far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos was giving a speech in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
In this Jan. 20, 2017, photo, Seattle police officers dressed in protective gear stand during a protest in front of Kane Hall on the University of Washington campus where far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos was giving a speech in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
Associated Press

SEATTLE – Seattle Mayor Tim Burgess has signed an order seeking to give the city more control over off-duty work done by police officers.

Burgess wants the Seattle Police Department to manage all off-duty work, such as traffic control at construction sites or parking garages, KOMO-TV reported. He signed the order Tuesday.

While officers previously have needed approval for off-duty assignments, the department has had limited oversight, with managers unable to determine how many hours the officers are working.

Two security firms have handled off-duty assignments, with one connected to the police union. A third firm that recently entered the market has complained of unfair competition, and the Seattle Times has reported that police Chief Kathleen O’Toole has forwarded the matter to the FBI for investigation of potential price-fixing and intimidation.

“It is clear that we need a total overhaul of how this city handles the practice of police officers taking secondary jobs,” Burgess said in statement.

The mayor said it will take months to implement his order and that some of it will be subject to collective bargaining.

The Seattle Police Officers’ Guild described the executive order as unnecessary and said it would take legal action if the city imposes changes outside of the collective bargaining process.

It said in a statement that officers are already required to obtain permits for every off-duty job they work, that they may not work more than 24 hours of off-duty work in a week and that they can be disciplined for not following that policy.

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