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Feedback: Secondary Employment


The Portland Police Bureau would like to hear your thoughts about secondary employment for off-duty police officers.

The Portland Police Bureau / City of Portland facilitates secondary employment opportunities for off-duty police officers on a routine basis, with the goal being that privately funded events or businesses should fund necessary public safety positions. The Bureau works to decrease dispatched calls for service and save taxpayer money that would be spent providing public safety assistance to for-profit businesses. The Police Bureau works to encourage all private businesses to have the proper security personnel in place for their event or establishment. Examples of past secondary employment opportunities include: working traffic control at large events; Trail Blazer Detail; and department store security.


Currently, the City/Police Bureau receives requests from private businesses who want off-duty officers available at their business or event. The decision to approve this request is made by the Commander of the Precinct in which the business or event resides or will occur. If it is approved, officers can request to be considered for these positions, and can work 20 hours a week additionally at these secondary jobs.

The Portland Police Bureau is in the process of updating its secondary employment policy and would like your feedback:

What kinds of events or businesses do you believe would be appropriate for off-duty officers to fulfill in a secondary employment capacity?

What kinds of events or businesses do you believe would be inappropriate for off-duty officers to fulfill in a secondary employment capacity?


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July 22, 2015 at 2:46 PM

Regardless of the types of employment that are allowed, I feel that PPB officers who are being employed by third parties should be required to wear a different type of uniform that clearly demonstrates that they're not currently working for the public and instead are currently private employees.


Carolyn L Scalise

July 22, 2015 at 3:04 PM

Trailblazer games, concerts, etc. would be fine with me. When I think of positions such as dept. store detectives, I'm uncomfortable for these reasons:

  1. The public doesn't know that the detectives are off duty police. So when responding to a call, must they perform limited duties?
  2. When a police officer responds, will they act only per store policy, or will they decide to become the bad cop, disregarding the 2nd job rules.

I'm a layperson in this arena, but I think things through. This could get really messy, with the nearly daily incidents across the country, involving police and people of color. Perception is reality, and the PPB needs to be extra vigilant and treat all those they encounter the same way they treat their loved ones. Respect. Dignity. Empathy. Kindness.



July 22, 2015 at 3:16 PM

I agree with the first comment. Police are free to seek a secondary job but they must wear a uniform that is distinct from their police uniform so that people understand they are working in a private capacity.


Joe Miyako

July 22, 2015 at 3:18 PM

I think they should be allowed to work in bars, nightclubs, and other businesses that profit from the sale of alcohol. In my opinion, having a uniformed officers presence in places such as these will help to descalate problems as soon as they arise and reduce alcohol related issues such as drunk driving.



July 22, 2015 at 3:28 PM

I have no problem with PPB officers serving at private events. I can't think of a situation in which a police presence is unacceptable. Also, I think 'GB' brings up a good point; although I don't necessarily think it should be required, some kind of uniform/vest identifying them as an off-duty officer may be a good idea.


Bob C

July 22, 2015 at 3:29 PM

Back in the 60's when patrolman made $5.00 an hour you could moonlight....But you could not have a blue stripe on your pants. We worked 12 hour shifts in the ER at Emanuel times and they paid us $10.00 an hour..


Ron Williams

July 22, 2015 at 4:37 PM

Let them do what they will, but don't do it in a Portland uniform. If you're off duty, you're a rentacop. Private event should have private uniform, private car, etc. Don't like it? Go drive Uber like the rest of us.



July 22, 2015 at 4:47 PM

as long as they aren't in uniform or working in illegal jobs, I don't care what they do!



July 22, 2015 at 6:03 PM

Just an unrelated (or somewhat related) thought.
PART TIME officer. Allows for savings and flexibility in increasing presence when and where needed the most.


Kai Jones

July 22, 2015 at 6:29 PM

I think before they can moonlight in any security-related capacity they must complete a training of some kind distinguishing between what they can do as an on-duty police officer and what they can do as a non-sworn citizen.

If they moonlight in jobs where they carry concealed, they must have a CHL as well as satisfy DPSST requirements for their sworn position.

I think they should inform their captain or supervisor of their outside employment, to prevent conflicts of interest, and the Police Bureau should retain those records for at least 5 years.

I think the City should negotiate any of these terms with any bargaining unit members.



July 22, 2015 at 7:32 PM

No problem with them working other jobs as long as they leave their LEO thinking at the door. Carrying open or concealed? No problem in my mind (as long as they passed their last qualification test - lol)



July 22, 2015 at 11:06 PM

i have no idea why anyone would be opposed to this. The police work very hard to protect us and should be allowed to use their skills to make additional money through this process. I had see no reason why they can't wear uniforms while work these approved jobs.



July 22, 2015 at 11:24 PM

I think it would be perfectly acceptable as long as the policy clearly details what functions they can perform such as still being a sworn LEO but also they are now acting in a non-sworn position.

They should not identify themselves as police officers, should have a CHL like those of us who are considered citizens.

I also think they should provide their own equipment and not use the equipment that they do as one of our police officers.

On a side note, it would be beneficial to have the current policy listed here so we can see what it says and make more relevant observations as to a proposed new policy.


Mark Retzlaff

July 23, 2015 at 12:17 AM

I'm in agreement with the majority of commenters here - police officers can serve as private security so long as there remains a clear separation between their roles as public servants and private security contractors. I agree the uniform should be different. I have no problem with them serving at functions where alcohol or marijuana are consumed (since they are legal), so long as there is proper permitting. Events with obvious illegal drug use would be make less sense for a sworn officer, even off-duty.

I would also like to see transparency in regards to how off-duty officers would request police assistance. Do they call 911 like a citizen, or do they use back channels to call their buddies in the cavalry? If it's the later, I think the public deserves to know that that's a privilege they are exercising.


Lucas Martin

July 23, 2015 at 12:20 PM

I am okay with Officers performing security duties in any capacity so long as it does not impact their primary duties or impact the department reputation.
My two biggest concerns would be:

  1. Will there be a clear definition of the officers level of authority while working in the secondary roles.
  2. Will there be regulations in place to prevent officers from working so many hours they can no longer physically and mentally recover from their shifts.


July 24, 2015 at 8:26 PM

If police are working secondary employment off-duty, will they still be functioning as legal peace officers? More specifically, if they are serving as private security, would a citizen be breaking the law if they failed to follow an off-duty police officer's instructions at a concert, etc? If the answer is yes, as it has been in other cities like New York, would the city and tax payers (not the private firm employing them) be responsible for covering legal expenses if their were allegations of misconduct? Seems like some deep issues to be explored and clarified before simply allowing this.



July 28, 2015 at 11:56 AM

This concerns me.
While I would want to be supportive of PPB officers to seek secondary employment, there are specific requirements that sworn officers are expected to uphold whether they are on duty or not.
Doing a little bit of research on the topic elsewhere, there have been civil suits against officers or the municipal employer that they work for. To operate effectively between the public and private sector for these officers, I think it is important to consider the potential for conflict between the two and define the deliniation and put some fore thought into how to set up the policy for the good of the officers, the city, and the agencies involved.



July 28, 2015 at 3:40 PM

Any event is fine. If they have that much energy to do extra work more power to them. Just be careful not to get hurt and not be able to work for PPD.


Michael Pronold

July 30, 2015 at 7:39 AM

20 hours seems like a lot. I'm concerned working overtime in a City sponsored capacity could decrease their performance when they're on City time. If they want to get a job on their own so be. The City shouldn't restric that. But for the City to promote and sponsor such an activity is ill advised.



August 2, 2015 at 11:01 AM

I disagree with the comments about limiting the power of an off-duty officer when working a private security job. I think as long as officers make it clear that they are police officers, there's no problem. The whole idea behind a business wanting to hire an officer in the first place is that a police officer has powers (i.e. arrest powers) that a private security guard does not. That said, officers should wear a conspicuous badge and/or police uniform when working a private security job. But my understanding is that -- contrary to movies where a fleeing criminal evades a cop by "crossing the county line" -- any Oregon-certified police officer can make an arrest anywhere in the state at any time. There's no reason to limit that power when an officer works a private security job.


Andrew Riggs

August 14, 2015 at 3:18 PM

An off-duty officer should be allowed to be employed in any secondary job they like, so long as they remember that they are not a police officer while in that role.

That said, if an organization wants official police security at an event then the Portland Police should be able to contract out officers for those hours. It would offset the operational costs for the department and not force officers into working more hours than they would like to work.


David Kamm

October 6, 2015 at 11:55 AM

I think this is a great idea. Beaverton police do it and most other municipalities as well. Especially at large events. But why limit their presence by requiring them to wear different uniforms? An officer is an officer. They are bound to the law regardless of where they are or why they are present.

Removing police uniforms diminishes their presence. If you want different uniforms, go with a private security service like Securitas or Depaul. With the PPD, you get quality security and everyone knows who they are in uniform. PPD trainging and education and day to day experience prepare them to handle the public. That is what they aren't paid enough to do every day.

Keep the uniforms and as long as the hired officer doesn't violate the obliti privatorum, publica curate. All is good! I say, "win,win".


PDX native son

October 20, 2015 at 11:18 PM

I am highly concerned that this creates a financial incentive to disregard the intense demands of police work. My hope is that problems don't arise, but if an interaction with a member of the public goes violently wrong involving an officer who is moonlighting then suddenly there is a controversy about his judgement, alterness, and efficacy as a community peace officer.


James Ofsink

May 29, 2017 at 9:43 AM

We should end this "extra-justice for hire" program. Private entities should not be able to rent uniformed police officers. If officers want to pursue extra work on their off duty hours, then they are free to do so, but like other public officials they should not be deriving personal benefit from their public position. If the Bureau determines that a sufficient public safety concern exists at an event, then the Bureau should deploy on-duty officers. As the previous comments demonstrate, confusion over the differences between on-duty (working for the public) officers and privately hired (working for a business entity) PPB uniformed security forces are inevitable.

These types of cozy arrangements perpetuate the ideas that justice can be purchased and that there are two systems of criminal justice in our community, one for those with money, and one for everyone else.

Whatever these private companies think they're buying when they pay uniformed officers to secure their businesses should not be for sale. Our police are sworn to protect and serve the people of Portland, not some multinational corporation's bottom line.


Justin Fountain

June 19, 2017 at 4:20 PM

Why are there PPB officers in uniform working off duty protecting Fred Meyer profits ? Good to know your priorities are in order. Let's see...
Won't respond to calls asy neighborhood goes down the toilet BUT will protect Fred Meyer profits while perpetrating a lie that the officer is on duty . Typical.

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