in Houston, Texas
Houston police officers banned from moonlighting have colorful past
Monday, Jul 16, 2012, 12:07PM CST
By Steve Miller
police

Call it the Village of the Banned: those 54 officers at the Houston Police Department who have over the last few years been prohibited from taking extra employment.

It’s a crew with a colorful past, including some caught in a 2008 department sting in which officers were discovered to be working off-duty when their city timecards said they were working a police department shift.

Officer Tracy Real was suspended from working police-related extra jobs from Sept. 11, 2008 to Jan. 1, 2011 after prosecutors maintained that she was tampering with a time cards for off-duty work at the Greater Southeast Management District. Real was the point person for security in the district, using HPD officers who were presumably off-duty.

Also caught in the sting was Capt. Dwayne Ready, who nearly doubled his salary handling off-duty, extra jobs for HPD officers in the mid-to-late 2000s. He was suspended for 90 days as a result of the sting.
At the time, the department also said Ready was permanently banned from working extra jobs.

Not so, according to records obtained by Texas Watchdog. Ready’s prohibition expired in January 2011.

In some cases, it’s hard to connect reported disciplinary actions or incidents with the ban from extra work.

For example, was Deyna Carabajal put on the banned list for a time in 2010 because she was caught posting anti-Honduran threats on her Facebook page?

Did officer Jose Coronado catch a spot on the list in addition to his suspension earlier this year over an off-duty shooting that went down in February 2011?

Officers are required to fill out a form any time they work extra jobs outside the department, primarily to ensure they are not pulling double duty as Real was accused of least year.

“Officers working for those other organizations are doing that as an extra job,” explained Jeff Monk of HPD’s open records division. “And we do have an extra job policy, where the officer must submit an application for every extra job he works. We just want to make sure they aren’t working the same hours that they should be working for the department.”

The extra work is lucrative, especially when it’s done for special districts, which tax business owners in return for extra patrols and tend to spend freely. In the Montrose Management District, officers are paid $42 an hour and officer Victor Beserra is paid a “coordinator fee” similar to that Ready procured. In June, the fee was $2,300. He is paid to recruit other HPD officers to cruise the district. Their activity is detailed in an activity report that is presented to the district each month.

Overall, though, work for special districts makes up a sliver of the requests. There were about 300 requests to do work for special districts in 2010 and 2011, less than 1 percent of the more than 37,000 total requests.

Then there are those who have abused the privilege or extra work in some fashion and been banned with some peculiar footnotes to their punishment: no jobs dealing with commercial metals, no work at the now shuttered Skybar, no extra employment dealing with money transport.

Officer David Polk’s name appears on the list of the banned twice, once from an unknown date until April 9 of this year and another from Feb. 28, 2011, with no expiration on the ban.

Records show Polk’s law enforcement license was suspended in September by the state. His current certification shows a probated suspension.

***
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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Photo of 'Houston Police' by flickr user Thomas Hawk, used via a Creative Commons license.

Comments
Sandy
Monday, 07/16/2012 - 12:50PM

Wow, at my job, time fraud is a terminable offense.

And if I drunkenly killed someone in a bar parking lot I might be facing death.

Darlene P
Tuesday, 07/17/2012 - 06:01PM

This is fraud why aren't they in JAIL?

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