5.120 - Secondary Employment

Effective Date: 03/19/2014


A Seattle Police officer has as his/her primary obligation a duty to serve the Department and the public at large. All secondary employment in a law enforcement capacity must comply with the provisions established in this section, and is subject to regulation and approval by the Department. Employees working off-duty must adhere to all Department policies and procedures and are held to the same standards of conduct and performance as those that apply to on-duty work.

I. Employee Eligibility for Secondary Employment

A. Employees must be full time employees of the Seattle Police Department and in good standing with the Department including having completed all required training, certifications, and qualifications.

B. Employees must have completed their civil service probationary period and must not currently be on probationary status or have been prohibited to work secondary employment.

C. Eligibility, and any current secondary employment authorization, shall be automatically suspended when an employee commences sick leave, long term disability, military leave, limited duty, family medical leave (including maternity leave), release time for any reason, while on suspension, while on mandatory administrative reassignment due to an on-going OPA-IS investigation, or while on the Mandatory Reporting Program for sick leave use.

NOTE: Upon written request, permission to engage in off-duty employment while on extended Sick Leave may be granted upon a doctor’s medical recommendation to the director of the Human Resources Section and upon approval from the Chief of Police. Permission shall be granted, in writing, prior to an employee engaging in each such employment activity.

D. Seattle Police Reserve officers are permitted to work secondary employment if the following conditions are met:

1. Work is at the Seattle Center, Safeco Field, or Century Link Field

2. The reserve officer is paired with a regular sworn officer, and

3. The work is under the supervision of a sergeant, and

4. The work has been approved by the Patrol Operations Bureau.

II. Responsibilities

A. Employees are prohibited from working secondary employment (police-related and non-police-related) while on-duty.

B. Sworn officers and sergeants can work no longer than 18 consecutive hours in a 24-hour period. Officers and sergeants must have a rest period of at least six consecutive hours in the 24-hour period. Work includes regular Department shift hours, Department and/or court overtime, and law enforcement off-duty employment. A lieutenant or above may waive the application of this standard for the needs of the Department. Exceptions can be considered for assignments and/or off-duty employment situations including but not limited to duties which allow a paid rest period, such as house-sitting, traveling security, or overnight jewelry show type assignments. This provision does not affect Section 7.3(B) of the collective bargaining agreement between the Guild and the City, and does not apply to employees working the 24-hour shift in the Harbor Unit when they are actually working that shift.

C. Each employee is responsible for seeking approval of and accurately reporting all off-duty and secondary employment, including business activities, through their immediate chain of command to their precinct or section Captain.

D. Sergeants and above reviewing and approving secondary employment permits must ensure that the secondary employment is consistent with this manual provision. Approval of a permit that violates this section may be grounds for discipline. Sergeants and above will ensure that permits are forwarded to the next reviewer or to the Human Resources Section in a timely manner.

E. The Human Resources Section shall maintain a file of all Secondary Employment Permits (form 1.30).

F. The West Precinct Captain shall be responsible for scheduling off-duty employment of police officers at the Seattle Center, including record keeping, in compliance with current Department policy. Positions shall be filled from an approved eligibility roster.

G. Each employee working in a traffic control capacity shall be responsible for wearing the following safety equipment:

1. A Department-issued safety vest, or the reversible raincoat worn with the lime green side out.

2. Hard hats while working any off-duty job where overhead hazards exist. Hard hats shall conform to standards of the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act.

H. Officers are expected to take appropriate law enforcement action whether on-duty or off-duty. Officers are responsible for prisoner processing, investigatory paperwork, and reports required by Department policy. Officers will provide assistance to on-duty officers whenever it is appropriate. An on-duty sergeant must approve all reports.

I. All employees working off-duty or secondary employment must be equipped with their portable radio and shall log in with radio at the beginning of their shift giving their appropriate "Victor" call sign, the address and business name of the event or job that they are working, the hours that they are working the job and must indicate if they are working in uniform or plain clothes. Employees will log off at the end of their shift.

J. Watch Lieutenants and sector Sergeants shall periodically inspect secondary employment locations that are active during their shift hours in their area of responsibility. If a deficiency or deviation from policy is observed, the Lieutenants and sector Sergeants will work to immediately correct the problem and may relieve the employee from the assignment if appropriate. The deviation or deficiency, as well as the action taken to correct the problem, will be documented in writing on an SPD Memorandum (form 1.11) by the Sergeant or Watch Lieutenant and forwarded via the chain of command to the bureau chief responsible for the area in which the event or job was occurring.

K. Employees shall not solicit off-duty work while on duty or at anytime, in any manner, that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the regular provision of police services to their business or person may be affected.

L. Employees shall not disclose any confidential information obtained in an official capacity to any off-duty employer.

M. Employees shall not use on-duty time to conduct investigations or take other law enforcement action on behalf of their off-duty employer. Matters requiring further follow-up may be referred to a sergeant for assignment or to the appropriate follow-up unit.

N. Employees holding the rank of sergeant and above shall not engage in law enforcement secondary employment that is coordinated, brokered, supervised or scheduled by an employee of lower rank in the supervisor’s direct chain of command.

III. Time and Compensation

A. Employees must not exceed 64 hours of work per week when secondary employment and regular work hours are combined. Employees working a Department-approved full-time alternative schedule are considered to be on a 40-hour week.

B. Officers working off-duty in uniform, or who exercise police authority while off duty for a private employer, are to be compensated at a minimum rate of pay equal to the top step of police officer or the top step of police sergeant. The total compensation in meeting these rates may be comprised of pay and other benefits, such as food.

C. Compensation for officers who are working off-duty for a private employer in a non-law enforcement capacity or are self-employed is not regulated, however it shall comply with all applicable laws governing such employment.

D. Compensation for law enforcement activity resulting from secondary employment in a law enforcement capacity is as follows:

1. If an off-duty officer engages in self-initiated law enforcement activity arising out of and within the scope of his or her secondary employment, the officer will be paid by the off-duty employer until the end of the off-duty shift and will not be paid by the Department.

2. Under the following circumstances, an officer working off-duty will be paid hour-for-hour overtime by the Department for the actual time spent performing a necessary law enforcement action upon approval by an on-duty sergeant prior to or as soon as practical after the law enforcement action is initiated:

a. The officer is required by Department policy to take law enforcement action and doing so prevents the officer from performing their off-duty job; or

b. The officer is continuing to perform law enforcement activity that was self-initiated, as in Section 1 above, after the end of their off-duty shift.

c. An officer working off-duty will be entitled to call back pay if the officer is required by an on-duty sergeant to address a public safety emergency or to process an arrest, book a suspect, etc., and the duty will not permit the officer to return to his or her secondary employment before the off-duty shift has ended. If the officer is called to duty by the Department and able to return to his or her secondary employment, the officer shall be compensated by the Department at the rate of time and a half for the actual time worked performing the Department duty.

3. With the exception of court overtime, an officer will not accept payment from an off-duty employer for the same time that is paid for by the Department.

IV. Secondary Employment Permit (form 1.30)

A. Prior to engaging in any off-duty employment or business activity, employees shall submit, through their immediate chain of command, a completed Secondary Employment Permit (form 1.30) for tentative approval. Applications which contain only vague, general descriptions such as "various security" will be denied. Specific employer or business firm name(s) must be identified on the Secondary Employment Permit (form 1.30) application. The street address where the work is to be performed must also be included on the application. With the exception noted below, no work is authorized until it has been approved, in writing, by the employee’s precinct or section Captain and the Precinct Captain in which the work is to be performed.

B. In cases where insufficient time exists to fully process a Secondary Employment Permit (form 1.30), a sergeant from the employee’s section or bureau may authorize employment for a duration of less than 4 days.

1. The employee shall complete a Secondary Employment Permit (form 1.30) and:

a. Under "Hours of Employment" indicate the hours and the inclusive employment dates, and

b. Mark the box at the top of the Secondary Employment Permit (form 1.30) specifying "Permit for Secondary Employment less than 4 days."

c. Contact a sergeant (in person or by phone) and request approval.

2. The sergeant or above shall then recommend approval or denial of the permit. If approved, the sergeant or above shall give the employee a copy of the permit that they signed (for employment of less than 4 days only) and forward the original through the chain of command to the Human Resources Section.

a. If verbal approval was granted, the employee will print the name of the approving sergeant in the signature block and obtain written confirmation within 24 hours and attach it to the permit.

C. Completed Secondary Employment Permit (form 1.30) requests which have been recommended for approval by the employee’s chain of command shall be forwarded to the section or Precinct Captain for approval. If the work is to be performed in another precinct, the permit should be forwarded to that Precinct Captain for final approval.

D. Upon final approval, copies of the permit shall be forwarded to the affected Precinct Captain (s) for retention in the precinct files, and to the employee. The original should be forwarded to the Personnel Services Section.

E. The issuance of a permit authorizes only the work, location, and conditions specifically shown on the permit.

F. All Secondary Employment Permits (form 1.30) are valid for one year, expiring on the employee’s date of hire. If a continuation of employment is desired, the employee is required to submit a new Secondary Employment Permit (form 1.30).

1. Under no circumstances shall a Secondary Employment Permit (form 1.30) be valid for more than 365 days.

2. Employees are responsible for ensuring that their permit is renewed annually and is current.

G. Any record of excessive sick time usage, poor work record, low time balance, significant complaint history or discipline may result in denial or revocation of a Secondary Employment Permit (form 1.30). Permits may also be denied or revoked when it is determined that doing so would be in the best interest of the Department.

V. Prohibited Employment

A. To maintain the integrity of the Department and its employees, the Department prohibits its employees from participating in secondary employment having a potential for conflicts of interest, the appearance of conflicts of interest, or that would tend to lower the dignity of the profession. Therefore, employees are prohibited from:

1. Performing tasks other than those of a law enforcement nature while in police uniform,

2. Participating in professional sporting events where there is a substantial risk of serious injury, without prior written approval of the employee’s Bureau Chief ,

3. Repossessing or towing vehicles, acting as a process server or bill collector, or in any other employment in which police authority might tend to be used to collect money, merchandise, etc., for private purposes of a civil nature,

4. Employment which requires access to police information (files, records, or services) as a condition for employment; except where specific approval for such use has been authorized by the Bureau Chief having control over such information,

5. Employment which results in other qualified persons being deprived of "rightful" employment and which results in a justified complaint. The Department will be the sole judge in these matters,

6. Employment which assists in the case preparation for the defense in any criminal action or proceeding,

7. Employment directly for or on behalf of establishments that sell or dispense intoxicating beverages.

a. The chief of police, or his/her designee, may grant an exception to this prohibition and authorize the issuance of secondary work permits if the employer is a business association that has received specific authorization from the Department to hire off-duty officers. Under no circumstances will authorization be granted for a direct employer/employee relationship between nightclubs and officers.

b. The precinct or section Captain and the Precinct Captain where the work is to be performed may grant an exception to this prohibition and authorize the issuance of secondary work permits if the employer’s main activity is not the sale or consumption of alcohol (athletic events, hotel operation, etc.).

8. Employment directly for or on behalf of businesses that sell, produce, or dispense marijuana, marijuana-infused products, marijuana extracts or marijuana concentrates. 


9. Employment (of a single day or night in duration) at events which are required to be licensed or are expressly exempted from licensing under SMC 6.295.050 (All-Ages Dance ordinance) is allowed only when the following circumstances have been met:

a. The event is properly licensed pursuant to the ordinance or is expressly exempt from the licensing requirement.

b. The employee(s) requesting authorization for secondary employment at the event have applied for their Secondary Employment Permit (form 1.30) at least four days prior to the date of the event.

c. The Secondary Employment Permit (form 1.30) has been fully reviewed and has received final approval per section III.A of this policy.

d. Short notice or verbal authorization for secondary employment at events that are covered by this section may only be made by the Captain, or his/her designee, of the precinct in which the event is occurring.

10. Owning, operating, managing, or having a financial interest in:

a. A business providing security services where the employee utilizes their color of office, position of employment, or access to Department information, files, records, or services for private or business gain.

b. A private investigation business.

c. A business that sells, produces, or dispenses marijuana, marijuana-infused products, marijuana extracts or marijuana concentrates. 

11. Performing police functions in uniform for a private employer beyond the jurisdiction of the corporate limits of the City, without prior written approval of the outside police agency having jurisdiction.

a. A copy of written approval from the outside police agency shall be attached to the Secondary Employment Permit (form 1.30).

b. In the event an officer cannot meet the requirements above, officers may be employed by a private employer outside the City, provided they do not wear the Seattle Police uniform or any part of the uniform that would identify the employee as a Seattle Police officer.

12. Performing police functions or security with the University of Washington in an off-duty capacity without first:

a. Being commissioned or deputized as a University of Washington Campus police officer

b. Obtaining the proper University of Washington Campus police officer’s uniform

Exception: Police officers may be employed by the University of Washington to work in Seattle Police Department uniforms to direct traffic in street areas or intersections adjacent to the University property or facilities without complying with the above requirements (football and basketball games, commencement exercises, etc.).

13. Ownership of a private security business unless the employee engaged in such business prior to September 1, 1984.

14. Employment directly for, or on behalf of, an establishment that is licensed for or provides adult entertainment.

15. Employment involving any form of gambling, including, but not limited to, cards, bingo, raffles, "Reno Nights", etc.

16. Any other employment activity not herein defined where there is a law enforcement obligation for close police scrutiny, or that would tend to lower the dignity of the police profession or creates conflicts of interest or the appearance thereof.

B. Charitable or Nonprofit Organizations

1. Even though the Department would discourage such participation, employees may participate as volunteers (not in uniform) in legal gambling activities sponsored by a "Bona Fide Charitable or Nonprofit Organization" as defined in RCW 9.46.0209.

2. Nothing contained herein shall prohibit an employee from holding an office in "Bona Fide Charitable or Nonprofit Organizations" (e.g., churches, fraternal societies, etc.), wherein one of the statutory mandates of such an office requires their participation in the application process for or signing of city, county or state licenses authorizing the dispensing of alcoholic beverages or the conducting of legal gambling activities. However, this exemption shall not be construed as an authorization for any other employee activity elsewhere prohibited within this manual.

C. The chief of police may waive any or all provisions of this policy in instances where an employee wishes to invest in such businesses prior to leaving city service and has indicated, in writing, a commitment to retire within eighteen months.

VI. Disability Benefits (Off-Duty Employment)

A. The following is an excerpt from RCW 41.20.060, covering the Police Retirement Pension:

"Disability benefits provided for by this chapter shall not be paid when the policeman [police officer] is disabled while he [she] is engaged for compensation in outside work not of a police or special police nature."

<p">B. LEOFF II officers are not covered by Washington State Industrial Insurance for injuries resulting from secondary employment.