Why Should Off-Duty Be a Priority?

View all Sections

Why Should You Care About the Off-Duty Environment?

You may not be thinking about it or even realizing it, but your officers are out there working extra jobs. They’re providing a police presence, engaging with the community and representing the department. Additionally, a flourishing off-duty program can support on-duty goals. Even though officers may not technically be “on the agency clock” it’s important to have insight into their work to:

Law Enforcement Agencies have no lack of things to worry about in keeping their communities safe. It’s easy for off-duty (or extra-duty) details to slip through the cracks. But if they aren’t on-duty, why should agencies make off-duty a priority

Whether or not off-duty is top-of-mind, 83% of police departments nationwide have off-duty programs yet only about 32% are using up-to-date tools to manage it. This means, depending on how much oversight off-duty receives at an agency, uniformed officers may be on the street without their agency tracking the details, or sometimes without even realizing it.

The public can’t tell the difference between a cop that’s on duty or working an off-duty detail. Can you?

While these officers may not be “on the clock” for the agency, they are still wearing their uniform, possibly driving a squad car, and working with the ability to enforce the law if necessary. It’s in the agency’s best interest to provide guidance and oversight to their officers - even in the off-duty landscape.

“Ultimately the chief of police is responsible for the off-duty officers working out in the city,”
- Sergeant Seaton, Irving PD

While off-duty programs are run with varying degrees of oversight and organization, a streamlined process yields better oversight for the agency, easier community access and more opportunities for officers. The most successful programs have an established procedure that follows industry best practices.