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Police Moonlight Essay

1840 words - 7 pages

A global problem
Police moonlighting is not just a problem in the United States. Moonlighting is severally restricted or prohibited in Australia, England and Japan. It however is fairly common in one form or another in Canada and the USA (Bayley 1996).
Under Russian law, police are permitted to engage in only very limited outside employment. Under the Law of the Militia, permitted occupations are limited to those connected to teaching, research and the arts. One study of officers in Russia found that 49% of the over two thousand surveyed stated that they engaged in some type of outside work in their off hours. Eighteen percent also reported engaging in other work during their on-duty hours. Nearly all officers were engaging in work that is prohibited by the Law of the Militia. Most were working in some form of private security while off-duty. Almost half were working in transportation services off-duty and approximately 30 percent were working in retail/wholesale. Slightly under half reported working as private security during the hours in which they were employed as police officers. Low wages were described as the primary reason for taking additional employment. There was an average 72 percent increase in officer's monthly income as a result of their additional employment (Wilson, et al. 2008).
Slovenia forbids police officers from moonlighting in functions that overlap with those of police such as for private security companies or private detectives. Though illegal moonlighting was not observed by Sotlar and Meško, they suspect that it is occurring as it does in other countries with similarly restrictive policies (Sotlar & Meško 2009). Similarly in Brazil, Police moonlighting is prohibited by law, though it commonly occurs and is largely officially tolerated (Bailey & Dammert 2006).
In Poland, police moonlighting in private security in forbidden. It however does commonly occur. There is also a history of illegal and semi-legal overlap between police and private security. Private security companies will often rent space in police buildings, share training facilities and share sensitive information. There have also been documented instances of state police, in the past, being paid to place electronic listening devices and otherwise spy on people for the benefit of private companies (Łoś, Zybertowicz, & Marx 2000).

Conflict of interest
Police moonlighting raises serious concerns related to conflicts of interest, both at the institutional level and for individual officers. A conflict of interest can occur when there is a conflict between a person's private interests and their work or public duties. Conflicts of interest occur when an officer is faced with a choice to engage in an activity or to avoid an activity that is not congruent with their official duties. For police officers, official duties can be quite broadly defined to include both their defined work functions and also maintaining the public's perception of to police force...

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