INDIANAPOLIS - As the City of Indianapolis prepares to send more than 100 additional officers back to the streets, the Call 6 Investigators have uncovered an internal report detailing staffing problems related to officers working off the clock.
The leaked report titled “Preliminary IMPD Off Duty Employment” was finished in May 2012, and was never released to the public.
The internal report completed by Sergeants Kevin Wethington and Judy Phillips argues what officers do off duty affects how they perform on duty.
An estimated 60 percent of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s 1,555 member force works off duty, mostly event security detail or directing traffic.
“It’s not always driven by money,” Chief Rick Hite said. “It’s that internal passion for the work and to make this a safe community.”
The report raises concerns about the “Fatigue Effect” of off-duty employment, noting one officer worked 85 hours a week including on and off-duty employment.
“Another example of potential officer fatigue is an officer who was shown to have worked 22 straight hours between his duty assignment and ODE, which included what appeared to be flexing of his duty hours, perhaps to accommodate his ODE,” read the report. “On another occasion it appears this officer did not adhere to the provision that his ODE start no sooner than 30 minutes after his duty shift ended.”
Current policy states officers shall not work more than 24 hours of off-duty employment per week, but officers may exceed the limit if they take leave during the same week.
Hite said the report raises some concerning allegations and officer fatigue is always on his radar.
“Always,” said Hite. “That’s why we’re looking at that, how the officers perform. The sergeants and commanders are asked to look at that on a daily basis.”
The report also calls into question taxpayer resources used for off-duty work.
“Schedulers (Officers who schedule ODE) routinely perform their private employment duties while on-duty with IMPD using their department computer and internet,” read the report. “One IMPD officer’s department email cabinet had a folder devoted to “Part Time Jobs” which included 12 subfolders. One subfolder included 337 emails.”
The report alleged when schedulers are on duty for IMPD performing off-duty scheduling, this amounts to ghost employment, a class D felony.
“It is believed that some officers conduct vehicle escorts, dignitary protection, premise checks, parking lot security and other functions while on duty and paid by the IMPD, yet they receive monetary compensation from private businesses for those same activities,” read the report.
“We discourage officers from doing a tremendous amount of scheduling for their part-time work while working," said Hite.
Hite pointed out every year officers have to resubmit a work permit.
“Every year, it’s a requirement,” Hite said.
Hite also insisted public safety benefits from police presence whether the officer is working on duty or off duty.
“That’s the bonus of having a police officer versus a private security person,” said Hite. “We’re on duty 24 hours a day when we’re in that uniform.”
The internal report made a slew of recommendations for improving the Off Duty Employment issue including updating work permit agreements and conducting audits of officers who work ODE.
Hite said he did not see the leaked report until the Call 6 Investigators contacted IMPD in July 2013, but said the agency has already made improvements.
IMPD is monitoring off-duty duties performed, locations, licensing compliance and police car usage.
"We're looking at everything we're doing in terms of being more effective and efficient," Hite said.
Officers are allowed to use their police cars for off-duty employment, said Hite.
Hite said the Internal Affairs department now has a centralized tracking system to monitor off-duty employment, and spot audits are also performed.
“We have investigations to make sure we keep the process honest,” said Hite “Through our internal affairs process we have a sergeant and commander who oversees it and the depository of information is in that unit.”
Hite said he likely did not receive a copy of the report because in May 2012 there was a different command structure, which included a Chief of Professional Standards under the Department of Public Safety, a position which did not report to the IMPD Chief of Police.
“That person did not report to me, and the previous police chief wasn’t in the loop,” Hite said, who added professional standards now reports directly to the police chief. “We don’t shirk our responsibility, we take it very seriously. We read the report and I was surprised by many of the things in it, we already started, and we’re happy you brought it to our attention.”
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