The New Orleans Police Department’s overhaul of the off-duty detail system is being challenged by the Police Association of New Orleans, saying the new policy violates state and local laws.
In a petition filed Friday with the Civil Service Commission, PANO claims that any outside employment coordinated by the city must be subject to civil service rules, which require overtime pay and other safeguards.
While the city maintains that officers assigned to details by the Office of Police Secondary Employment aren’t working as city employees, PANO disagrees, citing requirements by officers to wear their NOPD uniforms and abide by all departmental regulations.
In the petition filed by attorney Eric Hessler, PANO notes that payments to officers for off-duty details would come from the city and be tacked on to the officers’ regular paychecks. The payment process, and the fact that the proposed pay scale for details was set by OPSE and approved by the City Council, is another violation of city law, PANO claims.
“The OPSE manages, and presumably will manage, many details whose sole purpose is to provide law enforcement services,” the petition states. “As such, the hourly rate set by the OPSE and the City Council was set in violation of this law.”
The city created the OPSE in May 2012 as a response to a scathing Justice Department report describing the decades-old detail policy an “aorta of corruption,” a system ripe for abuse and favoritism.
But the office, now staffed with five employees, has been slow to get off the ground, widely opposed by rank-and-file officers and plagued with administrative and logistical delays. Despite spending about $300,000 since the office was created, OPSE has yet to coordinate a single off-duty detail.