As FBI investigates, Burgess orders SPD to schedule off-duty work

With off-duty work by Seattle police officers now the focus on an FBI investigation, the city is cracking down.

On Wednesday, Mayor Tim Burgess signed an executive order that will end the practice of letting officers assign off-duty work to other officers.

"These practices were not stopped in the past, but ignoring them stops today," Burgess said.

The FBI is now investigating the system of having off-duty cops assign work to other cops through third-party companies.

Assignments include event security and traffic control at construction sites.

KIRO Radio reported on allegations of strong-arm tactics to secure work for off-duty cops, and a system where some officers are paid high management fees and are said to "control" certain areas downtown.

"We will not let the private interests of a few police officers tarnish the reputation of our entire police department," Burgess said.

Burgess' executive order acknowledges the city received warnings as far back as 2005 about what's called secondary employment for police officers.

"(The order) should have happened earlier and as a council member maybe I should have done more. But I wasn't mayor then and I am now and we're acting," Burgess said.

Burgess said the city will bring off-duty scheduling in-house at SPD, a system he says will not ultimately cost taxpayers more money.

He said if the city does end up spending money, it will recoup those costs through administrative fees.

Burgess is appointing a task force of civilian city employees to figure out details of the reform.

"With those recommendations in hand no later than Nov. 14, I intend to take action before I leave this office," Burgess said.

In a statement, the Seattle Police Officers' Guild suggested that there was no need for the executive order, and that Burgess violated the collective bargaining agreement as well as state labor law.

"SPOG will be taking legal action on this order. Not to oppose the changes, but to demand that the city stop circumventing state law," the statement read.

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