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Assessing and managing off-duty police employment liabilities

In order to enhance their income levels, police officers in most nations engage in part-time functions (off-duty employment). Most jurisdictions accept this form of employment as long as the officers involved participate in provision of security to the public (Mayer & Corey, 2016). The management of the off-duty and on-duty forms of employments however differs due to the varying employers observed in each case. As such exposure to various forms of liability is paramount in the off-duty employment where private employers are involved in the management process.

In order to assess the liability exposure arising from various claims presented the courts must ascertain whether the officer acted as a public or private actor when performing off-duty functions. A police officer is considered as a public actor when he/she engages in public functions. In order to ascertain that the officer was a public actor, the courts will establish whether the officer acted under supervision of other public officers, focused on enforcing law other than serving the private interest of the employer, wore a police uniform and other equipment such as state fire arms when conducting the function, carried out an arrest (O’Hara &Sainato, 2015). On the other hand, an off-duty officer is regarded as a private actor when he/she engages in activities, and focus on enforcement of rules that are promulgated by the private employer (O’Hara &Sainato, 2015).
Focusing on employer liability, private employers are only liable for the acts of the officers if they engaged in private functions directed by the employer. The employer can reduce liability for any form of injury by providing additional insurance coverage to the police officers such that the insurance takes care of the treatment costs. Moreover, private entities ought to involve the off-duty officers in a legal employment contract detailing the functions that are to be undertaken as well as the scope and the timeliness for conducting the functions(Mayer & Corey, 2016). This will ensure that the employee is only reliable for the actions of the officer conducting within the employment guidelines.

Mayer, M. J., & Corey, D. M. (2016). Current Issues in Psychological Fitness-for-Duty Evaluations of Law Enforcement Officers: Legal and Practice Implications. Police Psychology and Its Growing Impact on Modern Law Enforcement, 93.

O’Hara, P., & A. Sainato, V. (2015). Monetizing the police: Corruption vectors in agency-managed off-duty work. Policy and Society, 34(2), 151-164.