Chris Manolis tired of paying a $75 fee every time his security system sounded a false alarm but he felt he had no choice, says the Indianapolis Star. The police weren’t patrolling his block so much as they used to and Manolis needed to protect his historic home of 44 years. Manolis found a third way; he got rid of the alarm and paid $150 annual dues for security patrols by a company owned and staffed by Indianapolis police officers. Manolis was putting his money toward a pumped-up version of the lone moonlighting cop who sits in a car at an apartment complex. The dozen off-duty officers for Safe Neighborhoods make arrests, respond to 911 calls, question loiterers, and chase trouble-makers. They drive their take-home patrol cars, wear their blue uniforms, carry their department issued guns, and keep in touch with their on-duty counterparts through their police radios.
Some City-County councilors say the officers are using public resources for private profit and vowed to push for a change in off-duty employment rules. They contend a freelancing, off-duty force trawling the same city streets as the police department could cause confusion and is costing the city money. The company saysit is simply filling a demand to compensate for a shortage of officers. It has violated no off-duty employment rules. Security guards and off-duty cops patrolling subdivisions, apartment complexes and businesses is nothing new but police professionals said it’s rare for a large swath of inner-city residents to hire their own “subscription” police. “I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like that on such a broad scale,” said W. Craig Hartley, Jr., an 18-year police officer who is deputy director of the Virginia-based Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.