DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A new audit out Friday afternoon criticized the Dallas Police Department’s oversight of a program aimed at keeping officers from working too many off-duty hours.
In a 27-page document, the auditor concluded in part, “Internal controls are not adequate to ensure DPD officers are not: 1. working excessive hours which may compromise the safety of both DPD officers and citizens 2. performing tasks that do not align with DPD’s General Orders, and 3. working at unapproved times and locations.”
The audit says as of now, officers are allowed to work the equivalent of three full-time jobs and recommends DPD limit the amount of off-duty hours officers can work.
The President of the Dallas Police Association, Mike Mata, insists the problem isn’t with officers working off-duty. “This is no different than every city in the state of Texas or really with every city in the United States. Officers work extra jobs mostly because businesses and business leaders expect us to work those extra jobs to protect their businesses.”
Mata says the real problem is on-duty shifts are too long because there aren’t enough officers. “They can’t get days off, they can’t take their holidays, they have to work overtime or they have extended shifts.”
The audit began in October of last year, but is being released after DPD officer Amber Guyger was charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of Botham Jean.
Guyger told investigators she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own before she shot him on September 6.
Jean’s family is now suing the city and said in their lawsuit that Guyger allegedly worked a 13-hour shift just before the shooting.
The Jean family’s attorney, Lee Merritt said, “The issue of fatigue in this case has been an issue from the beginning and so to know there’s now an audit that’s looking into it as a factor for the city, it seems a bit too little too late. I’m more interested in what they knew prior to this happening.”
Mata said nothing indicates that Guyger had been working an extra job or numerous extra jobs before the shooting.
Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall said in a statement:
In October 2017, the City Auditor began an audit into the long standing procedures of off-duty employment by the Dallas Police Department. This audit focuses on the amount of hours that Officers spend on off duty jobs they voluntarily choose to work at outside of their 40 hour DPD work week.
The results of the audit were submitted on September 26, 2018. We have reviewed the results and agree with the findings that have been presented. Policy review is underway and we look forward to implementing the changes that are necessary to ensure the safety of our officers and the community.
Mayor Mike Rawlings said he knows the Chief will address the matter in the best interest of her officers and the public.
Rawlings said in a statement:
Dallas police officers are the best trained and hardest working cops in the country. Many officers rely on off-duty jobs to help support themselves and their families. Organizations and businesses all over the city also rely on the program. However, it does us all a disservice if we don’t follow our own orders intended to keep police and the public safe. I know Chief Hall will review the findings and address this matter in the best interests of her officers and the public.
DPD says it will rewrite its general orders on this rule by December 1, and will ultimately look at buying software that can track officers off-duty employment.
Councilman Adam McGough, Chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee said, “It’s always helpful to dig in and make sure that you have the right policies and procedures and that they’re being followed.”
McGough said that he supports the officers working off-duty hours because so many residents and businesses rely on them for protection.
He said the audit provides “helpful changes that need to be made to protect the officers and the city.”
Auditors said, “Internal controls are not adequate to ensure DPD officers are not: working excessive hours which may compromise the safety of both DPD officers and citizens, performing tasks that do not align with DPD’s general orders and working at unapproved times and locations…”
The city says officers are now allowed to work the equivalent of three full-time jobs and recommends DPD limit the off-duty hours officers can work.
But the President of the Dallas Police Association said the real problem is the amount of hours officers are working on-duty.
“We don’t have enough officers,” said Mike Mata. “They can’t get days off, they can’t take their holidays, they have to work overtime, or they have extended shifts because we don’t have enough officers. This is not about extra jobs.”