Mayor orders Seattle police to take control of officers’ off-duty work amid FBI investigation

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 announced Wednesday he is issuing an executive order handing control of officers’ off-duty work to the Seattle Police Department, a dramatic move that comes 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 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, outlined the order at a 1 p.m. news conference at City Hall.

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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. He is not seeking re-election to the council.

His order alters longstanding practices that have left the Police Department wrestling with how to deal with off-duty work.

While there have been patchwork efforts to fix problems over the years, the overall system operates outside the control of the Police Department, with little oversight.

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.

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There also have been concerns about the coziness of the two off-duty officer staffing companies that dominate the market: Seattle’s Finest and the police-union-supported Seattle Security — although many officers apparently work on their own, negotiating their own contracts with garages or merchants.

The department has tried to gain control of what some officials worry might be a monopoly, and in the spring endorsed a newcomer — Cops for Hire, now called Blucadia — as an alternative, placing a link to the company on the department’s website.

Blucadia matches officers to customers, operating similar to Uber, the car-service company.

According to Blucadia’s founders and officials…

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