Associate Magazine FBINAA Q2-2023

FBINAA FBI National Academy Associates, Inc. Strategic AMBASSADOR LEVEL Alliance 2023

FBINAA.ORG | Q2 2023

JOHN NEAL, NA Session 235

As a former Chief of Police, I understand the pressure that comes with leading an agency. As you focus on the day-to-day operations of the agency, you may overlook blind spots that can have a significant impact on your officers' and agency's reputation. O n your list of 100 things to do on any given day, the admin istration of off-duty assignments is probably number 101. Off-duty is often the last thing on our minds. Rarely does moni toring off-duty jobs ever become a priority until something goes wrong. Then, like most situations that quickly need attention, it moves up on the priority list. Once an off-duty incident scars an agency, accountability and transparency become important to recoup agency trust and respect. Creating controls that guide your department's off-duty operations is vital. It's also critical to enlist an unbiased third party company with off-duty administrative experience to man age your department's off-duty policies ensuring equity, fairness, integrity, and insurance coverage to protect your officers. PROTECTING YOUR AGENCY'S REPUTATION Most agencies have off-duty jobs that identify back to the agency. As our officers are filling these assignments, albeit outside of regular duty work hours, this work product still reflects on the officers and our agencies. Off-duty jobs that lack oversight may allow officers to take advantage of community businesses by charging inconsistent hourly rates or rates based on personal bias. Even worse, it may enable businesses to be charged for shifts that overlap with on-duty work or for shifts that weren't covered. I'm familiar with this common function of our departments: if it's not giving you problems, it sifts down a bit into the flour. What I mean by that is we typically give our attention to issues

that are causing problems. However, if we wait until there's a problem to act, it may be too late to remedy what has already occurred. The best we can do is move forward, prioritize the resolution to the problem, and put measures in place to ensure it doesn't happen again. We don't want an incident to occur that may erode trust with our community and private businesses. "If it's not giving you problems, it sifts down a bit into the flour." I believe off-duty employment should be facilitated through a managed program to establish transparency and fairness for the best outcome. We should provide equity to all our private employers by upholding off-duty policies and procedures. This will ensure we continue positive relationships within the com munities and businesses we serve. PROTECTING YOUR OFFICERS As a young police officer, I worked a lot of extra jobs because I was passionate about police work. When I worked these off duty jobs, I didn't know about workers' comp insurance or the liability protections I needed. Many of today's young officers who work these jobs early in their careers have no idea that they need workers' comp because they don't think about the possibility of injury, and if they do, they assume the agency has their back. Then they find out that's not the case. Similarly, to fellow leadership and command staff having peace of mind regarding off-duty assignments, our officers should have the same comfort knowing they are protected beyond their regular duties. It's essential to provide officers with the necessary information, pro tection, and benefits to make informed decisions when signing up for off-duty work. These conversations are relatively new to the law enforce ment world. While some more experienced officers may know they are not covered, they still take the risk of working off-duty. continued on page 37


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