The executive order issued Wednesday by Seattle Mayor Tim Burgess comes a week after it was disclosed that the FBI is investigating allegations of intimidation and price-fixing in off-duty work at construction sites and parking garages.
Seattle Mayor Tim Burgess signed an executive order Wednesday handing control of officers’ off-duty work to the Seattle Police Department, a dramatic move that came a week after it was disclosed the FBI is investigating allegations of intimidation and price-fixing in off-duty work at construction sites and parking garages.
The order, when fully implemented, would take management of the work away from private companies that, for years, have dominated the lucrative Seattle off-duty market.
Burgess, a former Seattle police officer who was sworn in as mayor last week after former Mayor Ed Murray’s resignation over sex-abuse allegations, said at a City Hall news conference that he issued the order on the recommendation of Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole to address conflicts of interest and long-standing lapses in the oversight of off-duty work.
“These practices were not stopped in the past,” Burgess said. “But ignoring them stops today.”
His order calls for the creation of an internal office in the Police Department, directed and staffed by civilians, to regulate and manage off-duty employment.
It also creates a task force of city officials from various departments to produce recommendations by Nov. 14 to reform management of off-duty employment and set a timeline for establishing the new office.
“I intend to take action before I leave this office,” Burgess said, noting the new structure will be created without additional costs to the city.
As a longtime City Council member who will serve until a new mayor is elected in November, Burgess has played a key role in police-reform efforts.
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While there have been patchwork efforts to fix problems over the years, the overall system has operated outside the control of the Police Department.
More recently, Seattle’s construction boom has driven demand for off-duty work to new levels.
Officers must get permission to work off duty, but the department has no way of tracking how many hours an officer might be working.
There also have been concerns about the coziness of the two off-duty-officer staffing companies that dominate the market:…