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Monday, October 20, 2014
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Published: Saturday, 3/29/2014 - Updated: 6 months ago

Off-duty officers allowed to work bar security until April

BY TOM HENRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Moonlighting cops will get one more weekend to earn extra cash by providing off-duty security at Toledo-area taverns.

After closer examination, the Collins administration agreed it would be unfair to businesses to yank officers on short notice from commitments they had made to work security.

The administration agreed to postpone enforcement of the city's longstanding ban against such freelancing until Tuesday, allowing officers to complete whatever off-duty work they had lined up through the end of March, said Sgt. Joe Heffernan, the police department’s spokesman.

“Bars have already arranged for our guys this weekend,” said Dan Wagner, the Toledo Police Patrolman’s Association's president. “It’s just to give the bars enough time to get the proper security in place the following weekend, if they need it.”

Negotiations will continue between the union and the administration over the city's decision this week to enforce a longstanding — but, until now, rarely enforced — policy forbidding officers from off-duty work at liquor establishments, Mr. Wagner said.

The union president said the administration appears to have firm convictions on the matter.

Establishments that primarily serve alcohol have hired off-duty officers to help maintain security for years. The officers typically stand at entrance doors or in parking lots — in uniform, with badges and guns — and do not enter unless needed.

Police Chief William Moton’s announcement Wednesday that the policy would now be enforced does not affect police who work security at restaurants that primarily serve food but also hold liquor licenses.

Sergeant Heffernan said there was no specific event that prompted the chief’s order. While the Collins administration recognizes how officers’ presence can deter trouble, it also can be perceived as a conflict of interest for police, especially when bars with repeated license violations hire them, the sergeant said.

“I’m sure it’ll be open to review later,” he said. “There are pluses and minuses.”

Contact Tom Henry at: thenry@theblade.com or 419-724-6079.



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