The Special Events Office at the Pittsburgh Police Department will officially no longer schedule secondary employment of officers, nor will it handle payment for such employment.
Pittsburgh City Council passed a bill Tuesday that will outsource both duties to the North Carolina-based company Cover Your Assets.
The change comes after allegations that some officers received preferential treatment from the other officers who scheduled the moonlighting gigs.
In March, former Police Chief Nate Harper was indicted on federal charges that he diverted more than $70,000 through the office into secret accounts at the police credit union.
Public Safety Director Mike Huss said the new system will provide a heightened level of transparency, particularly when it comes to payment for secondary employment.
“Immediately when an invoice goes out, it’s posted in our financial software package so that multiple different offices in the city can track the funds,” Huss said. “The funds will no longer come into the police bureau; they’ll come into the treasury of the city of Pittsburgh. This is just one of many reforms we’re putting in place to correct some of these shortfalls.”
Historically, there were two ways that the city-scheduled police officers who were moonlighting as security guards at local businesses and events: through the Special Events Office, and through specially designated officers called “schedulers.”
This new law only affects the Special Events Office, because the existence of schedulers is built into the city’s contract with the Fraternal Order of Police.
“What we’re trying to do is eliminate the scheduler portion and have them all go through this system,” Huss said. “But currently, those negotiations are ongoing.”
Cover Your Assets already provides some software and web-based services for the police department, and Huss said it was natural for the city contract them to provide scheduling and payment services as well.
They currently provide similar services for police departments in the state of Delaware and in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Huss says the location of Cover Your Assets presents another advantage.
“Frankly I like the idea of it going out of state, so that there can’t be a perception that certain people are getting details over top of other people,” he said.