With Seattle’s construction scene exploding, the off-duty jobs at work sites and new garages represent a huge source of income. Some are alleging two companies that hire off-duty officers for the jobs may have engaged in intimidation and possible price-fixing.
The FBI is investigating allegations that Seattle police officers, with the help of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild, may have engaged in intimidation and price- fixing while working lucrative off-duty jobs directing traffic at parking garages and construction sites.
Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole confirmed Tuesday that she referred the allegations to the FBI and the department’s Office of Police Accountability (OPA), which conducts internal investigations. She said any further comment would be inappropriate.
“We immediately took action,” the chief said, adding that she was confident the investigation would leave “no stone unturned.”
FBI Special Agent Fred Gutt said the bureau does not acknowledge investigations.
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The allegations came from the founders of Blucadia, an Olympia-based startup and competitor to the two private companies that provide most off-duty officers for traffic control and security — Seattle Security, which is aligned with the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (SPOG), and Seattle’s Finest.
With Seattle’s construction scene exploding, the off-duty jobs at work sites and new garages represent a huge source of income.
The investigation comes at a time the Police Department is looking at ways to gain control over off-duty work, which requires official permission of the department but is difficult to track and monitor.
Seattle police this year endorsed Blucadia as an alternative to Seattle Security and Seattle’s Finest, providing the Olympia company a portal on the department’s web page that the other operations do not have.
Blucadia bills itself as a software provider similar to Uber, matching officers seeking off-duty work with customers without employing the officers. Both Seattle’s Finest and Seattle Security employ the officers they hire out.
Blucadia officials claim they’ve been blackballed by SPOG, and cursed at by its president, Kevin Stuckey, and have run up against reluctance among potential business clients afraid of angering police, worried they won’t show up for traffic control or emergency calls.
Stuckey did not return telephone…