Concerned that officers are being drawn into violent incidents, Baltimore plans to prohibit police from working off-duty jobs outside businesses with liquor licenses, a move that has frustrated the officers’ union, business owners and some city officials. The city’s Sun says the change comes as Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III and Mayor Sheila Dixon have challenged troubled businesses to provide better security, and it will take effect just weeks after police launched a significant crackdown on overtime amid budget constraints. Many officers work such jobs to supplement their incomes.
But Bealefeld says the business owners rely too much on the officers and not enough on private security. Long-standing rules prohibit police from working inside businesses where alcohol is served, and Bealefeld worries the current arrangement leaves the off-duty officers to handle situations that have already gotten out of control. Last year, off-duty officers working security details killed armed men outside the South Baltimore hot spot Club Mate and inside a downtown parking garage. Last week, the city approved a $50,000 payout to an Edgewater man who accused six off-duty officers of beating him outside the Power Plant Live area. And in late September, a 21-year-old Towson University student was beaten into a coma at the Iguana Cantina, which typically employs a half-dozen officers outside on busy nights.