...Since the story aired...
I got a heads-up by e-mail this morning that The Burgh Report blog has posted extensive information and links about how other cities handle cost recovery for off-duty police details.
In working my Channel 4 Action News story last night, I had made calls to other cities for information about how they deal with this issue. None had gotten back to me in time for my deadline, so it wasn't included in the story. I did get some answers after the story aired, and had intended to blog about them this morning.
Cleveland Police spokesman Lt. Thomas Stacho tells me that officers there are authorized to use police equipment, including cars and uniforms on secondary employment details--any "non-deadly' equipment. He says that none of the work is run through the city of Cleveland, that the hiring is all done directly through private employers with no cost recovery by city government. He says the Indians and the Browns both hire off-duty Cleveland police officers directly, without going through Cleveland's police department.
Lt. Stacho suggested I check out Boston for a contrasting example. The police spokesman there tells me that Massachusetts law requires Boston to control what are called "paid details" there. He says Massachusetts and Louisiana are the only two states he knows of with such a requirement. He says a business wishing to hire a Boston police officer for a "paid detail" outside a regular shift must do so through the city. Their pay rate for the "detail" is not overtime, but a different, established, agreed upon rate.
I'm still waiting to hear back from the Philadelphia police public affairs unit.
By the way, while checking out Boston police on the web, I discovered that the police department has its own excellent blog. It uses the blog as a means to quickly and completely inform both the media and the public about crime, public safety, and other police matters.
For any readers who are new to checking out Pittsburgh area blogs, I should note that the burghosphere has been bubbling with detailed analysis-and-opinion posts on this topic for some weeks. The People's Republic of Pittsburgh, for example, has posted not one, but a second and a third installment.
The Post-Gazette's elections blog "Early Returns" has some insights as to why this has become a hot topic in the mayor's race.
I knocked out this post quickly this morning, before making my rounds of news and blog websites, so there may be a ton of other new info out there that I've not read yet.