Dozens of Seattle police officers have worked off-duty security jobs at nightclubs and bars in recent years, violating department rules while their supervisors looked the other way, says the Seattle Times. The newspaper said that officers working in police uniforms sometimes put club owners’ interests ahead of their duty to protect the public. Some failed to help people injured in fights near bars, while others didn’t file police reports after learning of crimes.
One officer repeatedly stored confiscated drugs in his personal locker instead of logging them into the police evidence room. Another, in his off hours, was found intoxicated and lying near a street with his badge and gun visible, yet he was allowed to later work off duty at clubs. Rules prohibit off-duty work at liquor establishments because it can put officers in the middle of illegal or improper activities, testing their loyalties. But at least 48 officers worked for nightclubs and bars during a two-year period that ended in November 2004. Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske acted late last year on off-duty work problems, but only after an FBI investigation and resulting news coverage. The department says no officer has worked for a club since then. “It was a loose system,” Kerlikowske said, admitting problems should have been caught earlier. “There wasn’t a level of scrutiny and inquiry as to where they were working and what they were doing.”