Strange place, America

Two off-duty police officers, who were working an “extra job” at Monaco, were outside the lounge. “The officers were in uniform and a marked [Atlanta police department] vehicle with its blue lights activated for visibility was parked nearby,” authorities said.

So, coppers having an extra job, sure. Your time is your own when you’re not on the clock after all.
People hiring coppers for crowd control and all that. Sure, this is normal, charges for public expenses to do with an event.
People hiring trained personnel – off duty coppers – privately to do event security. Sure, normal etc.

It’s this fourth one that jars a little. Private hiring for that private security of the off duty coppers – all fine so far – and yet they bring their uniforms and car along?

That’s umm, odd.

Something that would be interesting – in this let’s be nosy, not in an important one – sense.

So, the two off duty coppers. Do they charge different amounts for being there in security guard uniforms and police ones? Is there an overhead charge for the cop car? Who pays for the cop car’s gas to get there? Are we, that is, seeing the privatisation of the capital and running costs of the police department into the two cop’s pockets?

34 thoughts on “Strange place, America”

  1. That’s odd. When I lived equidistant between Arsenal & Spurs grounds I was always told the battalions of police turned up for games were paid for by the clubs & didn’t come out of our general policing budget. I was misinformed? Always seemed strange to see a couple dozen troop carriers with their window shields & POLICE painted all over them lining the road at 6pm for an Operational Command patch couldn’t field 5 cars at 2am

  2. There is an old Billy Joel song that references a policeman with two jobs, from memory:

    Sargent O’Leary is pounding the beat, at night he becomes a bar tender.

  3. It’s also hard to see how it’s wrong by Peelian principles. If the police are the public in uniform then they never really take the uniform off. Their powers don’t disappear when they’re off duty because they’re the same as we all have. So it doesn’t matter whether they’re physically wearing that uniform at any particular moment. Or the uniform changes depending on the status of the person inside it.
    I think I was told that policing of football grounds was done by police otherwise not on duty. So as far as being paid for their presence, the police authority is effectively acting as their agent & contacting for the material support.

  4. Of course Peelian Principles haven’t been seen in daylight since Peel handed in his dinner pail but I’m sure the Home Office has them in the back of a drawer somewhere

  5. Bloke in North Dorset

    If they were ever applied those principle went a long time ago:

    Joe Public: We’d like to see police on the beat, please.

    Police command: Its more efficient for them to be sat behind computer screens* (eating donuts)

    Joe Public: We don’t care, we’d like to see them on the beat, please

    Police command: Who the fuck do you think you are? We’re in charge round here and now sod off otherwise we’ll charge you with sending an offensive Tweet.

    *The same argument started with cars.

  6. I think there’s an extra twist for U.S. coppers. The off-duty hours are paid for by the third party (the nightclub, in this instance); but the government pays pension contributions on those extra hours. The rules vary by state, possibly even by city.

  7. In the U.S. it is common practice for off-duty police to work security at big events (sports) or even small ones (like managing traffic outside a church parking lot). They’ve always done this in uniform and used police cars.

    For one thing, it’s part of the union contract. Second, it’s considered useful to have police seen out & about. It’s very common for police to take their patrol cars home (or was, not sure if this still widespread), again on the theory that police visibility helps deter the bad guys.

    If you’re going to be directing traffic around a stadium it’s a good idea to have a police car with flashing lights to get people’s attention and have a cop in uniform doing the directing rather than some guy in a T shirt.

  8. OT but I’ve just been chatting with a UK-side mate. We were discussing the resilience of my mother’s generation in Docklands carrying life-as-normal under nightly bombing & her brother turning down his final flight in a Wellington because there hadn’t been a comprehensive risk assessment.
    So a new meme is born for Remembrance weekend.


  9. Yes i was amazed when i first saw this in Florida. Police cruiser parked in the median, lights on – across the road from a pub* i used to frequent with people spilling out onto the pavement on friday night. The place had no bouncers. The policeman didn’t do anything, he was just there. I asked about it at the time and yeah paid by the owner to be there.

    (yes they went for the pub vibe- and it was good, very good if you can think of a pub with waitress service and every waitress- well we (cos i knew many of the locals) used to argue which were nines and which were tens)

  10. Houston. ~1990. Extortion.

    Gamecock in nice restaurant. Cop in lobby. Full uniform. Gamecock asks, “What’s he doing here?”

    “It’s common for Houston restaurants to hire off duty policemen for ‘security.'”

    “This seems like a nice area. Why would you need security?”

    “If we don’t hire them, the on duty cops will stake out our parking lot, and arrest patrons for drunk driving.”

  11. Never policed football matches but, despite not playing the game myself, policed some cracking golf tournaments with the world’s best players in attendance.
    The organisers contacted the various Police forces to arrange private hire, at Home Office stipulated hourly rates depending on numbers and ranks required, for crowd control as the golf club marshalls had no power to deal with noisy or unruly spectators. Only those officers who were on fostered rest days could volunteer for this and the extra cash (time and a half) came in very handy. Don’t know if this continues to this day, CCP virus permitting.

  12. So policemen working overtime but not at the taxpayers’ expense. Sounds like a good idea.

    A police car in the police station car park is not contributing to law and order, using the asset for that purpose ‘unofficially’ is better use of the asset.

  13. American policemen moonlighting in Monaco confused me, but I suppose it’s just the Yankees’ inability to come up with decent new place names.

  14. ” just the Yankees’ inability to come up with decent new place names.”

    They could have used Milton Keynes. It wouldn’t have been taken then.

  15. Reminds me. I started noticing 20 years ago that Phil Mickelson always has a uniformed cop in his group. Never did find out why. Threats? Or paranoia?

  16. Bloke in North Dorset


    Given the rumours that we’re going round about his alleged gambling debts it may well have been protection.

  17. @ Penseivat
    ” the golf club marshalls had no power to deal with noisy or unruly spectators. ”
    The police themselves have no power to deal with noisy or unruly spectators. Unless an offence has been committed. Behaviour outside that can be curtailed because the event’s happening on private property, where the owners not the law get to decide what’s acceptable & the right to eject those don’t comply. Which could legally be done by the club marshals because they’d be acting as agents of the club. Whole thing’s largely cosmetic. People are more likely to defer to a police uniform.

  18. I suppose it could be argues that police are better at this sort of thing because they’re trained to interact with the public. Reckon that’s still true? My experience, the security thugs these days have better interaction skills with the public than coppers. But then they don’t have a complaints system or ultimately court system will back them up when they exceed their legal powers.

  19. Dennis, Septic to the Masses

    Cops are hired for traffic control during road construction. They wear their uniforms. No big deal, because in most police departments, cops get an allowance for uniforms. They aren’t the property of the department. As far as the vehicle goes, I know that around here, if you pay for off-duty policing, you can also pay for a squad car. Again, in the construction traffic thing, companies around here are required by the department to hire both if the cops are going to be in uniform.

  20. Here’s the way it generally works like this.

    They are hiring off-duty cops because the city mandates they do so – no one would pay their rates otherwise.

    If the cops are in uniform then they’re paying the city, and the city is paying the cops overtime, so you know the per-hour fees are massive and, in the end, the cops can do whatever they want ‘on the job’ – because you have to hire cops.

    If they’re not in uniform then, again, they’re hired because they have to be, are being paid a ridiculous wage, and get to do whatever they want to do ‘on the job’.

  21. BniC
    November 7, 2020 at 6:46 pm

    Did find it odd here that policemen take their squad car home with them

    Depends on where the station is. Most city cops do not, cops in large police departments are less likely to be able to also. Cops in more rural areas do. Cops in larger areas are more likely to be required to report in to a close-in precinct to brief before being assigned and sent out. Cops in smaller areas are more likely to simply get in the car, radio that they’re on-duty, and go.

  22. They could have used Milton Keynes. It wouldn’t have been taken then.

    There’s been a Milton Keynes for 1,000 years, a very nice little Bucks village with a green and a pub.
    It’s now surrounded by a massive new town, which stole its name.

  23. Very interesting questions and comments. As a Brit it seemed odd to me but the variety of scenarios in the comments shows that there is no one right way to provide security services. I was concerned about the possibility of corruption but I guess if the choice is paying mafia or cops it is better to pay cops.

  24. MBE,
    Uniforms were worn as we were on official duty, though private transport used to and from the venue.
    The Police could use public order or breach of the peace powers as the venues were classed as places to which the public had access, albeit on payment. As the entrance cost was quite high, the possibility of being arrested and escorted off the premises was enough to heed the initial warnings about behaviour, especially on the greens where silence was required for the players.

  25. “Cops are hired for traffic control during road construction.”

    Not around here. The unemployable are hired for such. Stick a green vest on ’em, and give them a stop/slow sign, and they are good to do.

    “Did find it odd here that policemen take their squad car home with them”

    Pretty universal around here. Though the neighbors in some nicer neighborhoods ask them not to.

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