Police chief moonlights as casino security director. Is this a conflict of interest?

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09/09/2010

Those in the security industry know that it often pays better to work in the private sector than the public. According to the 2010 U.S. Security Salary Survey conducted by ASIS International, those who work in the private sector tend to have higher average salaries than those who work in the government sector. However, those employed by the government have higher median salaries. “This seems to indicate if you start your career in the government sector you’ll start out at a higher rate, but transitioning to the private sector will garner higher compensation,” said Mike Moran, special projects editor for ASIS International.

But you can't really do both at the same time, now can you? I just read an interesting article from the Courier-Post in New Jersey that the Medford Police Chief has been moonlighting as the security director of a Pennsylvania casino. First of all, I'm pretty sure being a chief of police is a fairly time consuming job that requires being available at all hours (am I naive on this one?). Well, apparently others agree with me:

Eric Mason, president of the New Jersey State Association of Police Chiefs, said a police chief's job is a 24/7 position and one is never truly off duty or on vacation. Mason said he hasn't heard of a police chief working a second job in his 33 years in law enforcement but would be surprised if Canale is the first.

But, others think that law enforcement officers, just like the average Joe, should be able to make money working other jobs if they want to:

Ray Hayducka, second vice president of the police chiefs association, said he works as a part-time law consultant and teacher -- about 20 hours per month -- and police chiefs should be able to take advantage of money-making opportunities like other citizens.

But, there's a big difference between working as a police officer and a teacher, in my opinion. If there's an emergency, leaving a bunch of college kids isn't really such a big deal, but leaving one's security duties at a casino (or any facility, really) seems like it could jeopardize the safety and security of individuals.

And, something the article only touched on, was the conflict of interest involved in holding these two positions. Granted, his two gigs are in different states so he doesn't have jurisdictional powers at his casino job, but I think this certainly begs the question of priorities. How are citizens of Medford, who foot the bill for his salary, know they have the complete dedication of their highest ranking police official? If I lived there, I would certainly be irked by this.

Plus, the man makes $139,000 as a police chief and is slated for another $10,000 pay increase in January, according to the article. I'm not aware what the cost of living is in New Jersey or how much the average police chief makes, but that seems like a good chunk of change, doesn't it? Frankly, I'm bothered by this. Are you?

Comments

Ultimately, the township manager made the determination that Chief Canale's Saturday evening moonlighting does not present a conflict. If there's a delay in response times or serious gap in leadership on a Saturday then the township manager will be on the hook.

It actually may be in the interest of Medford to have this cross-over where emerging technologies and techniques in criminal detection (a casino is sure to have such a budget, right?) can be observed and relayed to the Medford police.

This is an iffy situation. It just really depends on the city that he is a police chief for. Does it state in his contract if he is allowed to take on another job? Is the town very small, with minimul crime? If so, him having another job may not be a burden for a quiet town. These are all items that need to be taken into consideration. I am currently a Security Director, and there is no way, I have time for another job. So the police chief, may be over his head. I would like to hear other opinions as well.

The Chief has just as much right to work a second job as long as he is not in conflice with any city or state ordinance. If he has the ambition and intelligence to make it all happen, more power to him. I think we have sufficient other problems to worry about then digging into folks private lives as long as there is nothing illegal or immoral involved.

Having worked, at separate times, in both law enforcement and private security/risk management, I am opposed to this particular Chief's situation. It is one thing for a line officer to moonlight on off-duty days and quite another for a Chief to do so. Irrespective of what his contract with the PD may say, common sense alone would tell a prudent Chief that he or she cannot be a slave to both of these masters. An "event" at either the Town or the Casino, necessitating his/her presence creates a major issue. It is not just a several minute ride from the PA casino to Medford I can tell you. If the Town fathers are not concerned by this, I would be asking what are they thinking.

True, a Chief or Security Director can, and should, delegate some duties and authority however there is the constant exposure, legally and otherwise, to the Town and the Casino if he or she cannot respond promptly and take command as necessary.

Good judgement would see that it disrupts the independance of his sworn position, and leaves him subject to a conflict of intrest issue. Casino Security, is a pay for play business, where having the Chief of Police on a teather would be looked at my Casino Management as a good advantage. But ask yourself this; How can he be paid to enforce the law, and yet work for another enterprise who, may have other desires about reporting crime?
You cannot serve two masters, keep it simple. thank you for the opportunity to express my professional thoughts. Harry Rensel