Blurring the Line Between Public and Private Sectors: The Case of Police Officers’ Off-duty Employment

Source: James R. Brunet, Public Personnel Management, Vol. 37, no. 2, Summer 2008
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While much recent attention has been given to the outsourcing of government services, little is known about the opposite situation in which private organizations retain the services of public workers. Such is the case when off-duty municipal police officers work for private concerns. Police officers have specialized training and law enforcement authority, two commodities in high demand in the private labor market. This analysis seeks to answer three questions about this largely unexplored personnel practice: (1) How much off-duty work is being undertaken? (2) How do departments administer the practice? And (3) What issues and/or conflicts emerge from this blending of public and private spheres. Data were collected through interviews with representatives from the 18 largest police departments in North Carolina and through a review of off-duty policies. The article concludes with suggestions fro maximizing the public benefits that accrue when police officers work for private entities.

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