Headlines Review December 2023

Off-Duty Policing Perils: Tackling Challenges and Enhancing Safety with Expert Support

Issues with off-duty police details continued to make headlines over the holidays. Overtime fraud, misconduct, and shootings are some of the cases mentioned that demonstrate the need for oversight and documentation. 

Former Scranton Police Officer and Police Union President Charged with Overtime Fraud 

Former Scranton police officer and elected police union president Paul Helring faces federal charges for fraudulently obtaining over $5,000 in compensation while serving as the coordinator for the Department’s extra duty overtime program. 

Audit Finds Louisiana Sheriff Investigators Were Paid for Work They Did Not Do 

State auditors reveal the Red River Sheriff’s Office paid five (5) detectives for 160 hours that overlapped with their off-duty private security work at a local hospital. This resulted in tax dollars being paid to the detectives for work they did not do. 

Off-Duty Blind Spot 

Agencies need additional resources to manage off-duty scheduling. Imagine a software platform with logic built in to prevent scheduling conflicts between on-duty and off-duty shifts. It tracks off-duty detail hours and regular duty hours, which can be viewed by agency coordinators and admins. Also, the platform comes with a mobile app that requires officers to clock in and –out when they arrive at the off-duty job site, and the app’s GPS confirms their location. OfficerTRAK® by Off Duty Management has these and other features to prevent overlapping or excessive hours and misreported timesheets. 


Off-Duty Deputy Shoots Armed Individual Outside Tomball Bar and Grill 

A Harris County deputy working off-duty shot a man after he refused to put down his weapon. An alleged disturbance inside the bar spilled over into the parking lot, where two (2) deputies tried to diffuse the situation, but then one of the men involved in the dispute pulled a pistol. The shooting is currently under investigation. 

Off-Duty Blind Spot 

Officers working off-duty are often faced with the same dangers they face on duty. Agencies must ensure they have strong policies governing officers’ conduct while working off-duty assignments and that they have appropriate insurance coverage in place protecting the officer, agency, and private businesses that employ the off-duty officers. Partnering with a third-party off-duty provider like Off Duty Management can help ensure the proper protocols and protections are in place to protect everyone involved.  


Teenager Killed in Shooting at Zachary Trail Ride Event 

Three (3) off-duty sheriff’s deputies worked a Zachary trail ride event that ended in a shooting. Originally, the event coordinator requested ten (10) deputies but later changed their request to three (3), saying they planned to downsize the event. The number of people in attendance quickly grew to ten (10) times the estimated 100, and deputies told the organizer the event had to be shut down for safety. Gunfire broke out after people were told to leave. 

Off-Duty Blind Spot  

While most law enforcement agencies have established protocols for off-duty assignments, this incident calls attention to the vital need for agencies to evaluate sites before assigning officers. Agencies must review, validate, and verify job requests but also set forth guidelines to scrutinize working conditions and ascertain the number of officers needed at a venue. The evaluation should consider location, crowd size, traffic, potential hazards, and other factors. This way, officers and civilians are kept safe.