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Last week, an off-duty St. Louis police officer shot and killed an 18 year old male. This
is in
the wake of the Michael Brown shooting that happened two months ago, and it brings up
yet
another important question: Exactly what powers do off-duty police officers actually have?
The rules vary between police departments, and they’re actually more guidelines than
they are
rules. But there is one hard and fast law covering the rights of off-duty police officers.
The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004 allows active and retired police officers
who
served for at least ten years, to legally carry concealed weapons at all times, regardless
of
jurisdiction, or local and state laws. But there are a few restrictions. Officers can’t
be in a Gun- Free School Zone, they can’t be under the
influence of drugs or alcohol, and they can’t be under
disciplinary action. They also can’t carry a weapon if they were forced to leave the
department
due to mental instability.
That’s it. That’s the only codified law specific for off-duty Police Officers. But
there are a lot of
commonly accepted guidelines that most departments follow. Most of them allow their officers
to
“moonlight” or take second jobs, even allowing them to wear their uniforms while
doing security
work. But there are limits. Officers who want to work a second job do so with permission
from
their department. And some departments don’t allow certain types of jobs, like bartending
or
stripping.
Most off-duty officers are allowed to make an arrest or question a citizen, but in order
to do so
- they have to present proper identification and follow all current police rules - which
of course
has its limits. Off-duty officers cannot use their powers to resolve personal grievances.
For
example, if the neighbor of an off-duty officer is playing their music too loud, that officer
cannot
go next door and issue a noise citation. This is according the International Association
of Chiefs
of Police.
Police are also advised against using their powers to fight minor crimes, like parking
or traffic
violations. They also shouldn’t pull anyone over while in an unmarked vehicle, except
in extreme
circumstances. For example, some off-duty officers will stop an obviously drunk driver.
On the whole though, most police departments caution against officers doing police work
while
off-duty, mainly to protect the city from liability lawsuits. If an off-duty officer
does something
illegal or unethical after identifying himself as a member of the department, the city he
works for
could be held accountable. Which is why many cities, like Philadelphia, suggest that if
an off- duty officer sees a crime, they should simply
call 911.
If you’d like to watch another episode on police in the United States, check out our
video on a
new strategy that one department is using to end police brutality.
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執法權 (How Much Power Do Off-Duty Police Officers Have?)

353 分類 收藏
黃柏堯 發佈於 2017 年 7 月 23 日
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