But even if it was open and running, what’s wrong with that? Is there some kind of unwritten law that says a police chief can’t have an outside business? District Attorney Stephen Zappala said it’s not illegal.
The third implication by the media is that he is responsible for the “detail mafia” which he had nothing to do with implementing. This system is not just in Pittsburgh but also in cities throughout the country. Apparently police officers have no problem working a lot of hours and their pay must be extremely low, or they spend a lot. All of us have seen off-duty police working as security guards at Giant Eagle, sports games and other major and small businesses. Well apparently a system was set up by cities throughout the country to get additional revenue by hiring off-duty policemen to special details such as Steelers games, bars, grocery stores, etc, in addition to the regular on duty cops. This system has brought thousands of dollars into the city–$800,000 last year. The chief did not create this–it was apparently by the city and the FOP working together. The name of the firm is Cover Your Assets, which allows off-duty officers to work up to 32 hours weekly.
But apparently there are many police officers that feel they have been left out of this system by the people in charge, which includes many Black officers who say, despite seniority, they haven’t gotten any or very few of these details. The chief has nothing to do with who gets assigned by the “detail mafia,” the media and police officers are calling them. But because of the complaints, the entire system is being investigated. Pittsburgh is not the first. There have been suits and probes in other cities about how some officers are misusing the same system which was created to make sure everyone got a fair share of the off-duty details.
The fourth accusation is the promotion of Eric Holmes to commander because he was a friend and not because of his qualifications. The news reports make it sound like the chief was promoting his friends, but according to people inside the police department the chief barely knew Sgt. Holmes when he allowed him to take on the full-time position at Slippery Rock. It was the University that requested Holmes. According to my sources, the chief really didn’t know Holmes well, other than his work, until the G20 event was held in Pittsburgh and Holmes was not only in charge of this because of his credentials, but he did such a great job that it has become a model for cities throughout the world. As a New Pittsburgh Courier 50 Men of Excellence selection I had a chance to look at his credentials, they are impeccable. Compared to the other commanders and high-ranking officers in the city, he’s far overqualified.
There’s a reason Slippery Rock University asked for him and had no problem hiring him as a consultant and later interim head of their police department so that he could train their police force.
There’s criticism of the chief for allowing this while he was still working as a sergeant on the city’s police force. They said two 40-hour jobs were too much. Let’s be for real, if other police officers can work up to 32 hours of off-duty work, why couldn’t he? He was paid a salary, not hourly, which means as long as he did what they hired him to do, he could have worked as little as 20 hours or as many as 50. No one really knows. But apparently he was doing both jobs well.
The fifth accusation is the FBI confiscation of Credit Union documents because of the allegations of misappropriation of funds has the media stating that the chief set up a slush fund.
Somehow City Controller Michael Lamb has gotten involved in all this and says that he hopes to document money coming in from private businesses that hire officers to moonlight. I don’t think someone running for office should be allowed to probe anything until the race is over.
Most of this was started years ago. Why is it all hitting the fan now, right in the middle of a mayoral campaign? Where was Lamb?