Friday, January 13, 2006

Cops In Uniform

From a fellow resident:

This is maybe a bit off topic, but I thought it would be of interest.

As you may have noticed, there are often police officers at the CVS at 17 and Q late in the night. They are dressed in full uniform, with gun and badge present.

Last night, I went into the CVS and found a cop, in full uniform, playing on a PSP (think newfangled GameBoy), with headphones in his ears. I was shocked to see that my tax dollars were going to grown men playing videogames. I wrote a few emails, and Lt. Christian from MPD phoned me to let me know the officer was off-duty and that I should take it up with CVS.

I always thought the cops I saw were on-duty and assigned by MPD to be there, otherwise, why would they be wearing their uniforms? In reality, they are off-duty security forces who just happen to reflect very poorly on MPD, which already has somewhat of an image problem.

Anyway, it seems to me that when officers are off-duty, they should appear as such, rather than representing MPD and the uniform they wear so poorly. Maybe I am just crotchety. Any thoughts?

Keep up the great work on the blog.

20 comments:

dl004d said...

Are they just on a short break? If so, it doesn't make sense to ask them to go somewhere to change out of their uniform only to make them change again in 30 minutes (or whatever).

Anonymous said...

The same is happening at the CVS at 14th and P. From what the people at CVS say, their loss prevention unit went through a week or so ago and now the off-duty police have been hired. The woman at my CVS seemed alert the first time I saw her but the next day was on her cellphone up in the front the whole time I was there and didn't even look up at people entered and exited. Doesn't seem to be MPD's problem (unless of course they're not supposed to be wearing their uniforms off-duty) since CVS is footing the bill.

Chris K. said...

I think it's unfair to say that "my tax dollars are going towards" this or that or to imply that the cop is just sitting around.

For all we know, that cop could have just come from a death scene, a robbery, or a fight.

Having a cop hangout at CVS (whether on the phone or playing on a gameboy) is no different from anyone reading the paper or surfing the internet at work.

Everyday they put their lives on the line for us. I say give them a break. At least they are there, and in uniform, they have a presence which I believe deters criminal activity.

Mitch said...

I don't think this is a big deal. I use to live in a number of cities and worked in various bars where off-duty cops would show up around 1:00 am with uniform on to be the late night security (Las Vegas, New York, and Altanta).

If CVS is doing a simliar thing here I actually think it is great. Cops deter crime. That is why tons of establishments give discounts to local police so they will have a regular presence and scare ("BOOO") the bad guys.

Anonymous said...

I work in the loss prevention field and I am familar with what CVS is doing. They pay these officers a good deal of money per hour to stand there and be there just for a presence. Most stores will hire them to deter shoplifters. This goes on all over the place and not just in DC.

tom said...

Yeah, what everyone else has said. "Your tax dollars" aren't doing anything; CVS's dollars are, and if they're okay with the cops playing PSP, so be it. The more uniformed presence in the neighborhood, the better.

DCdramaGrrls said...

I too recently looked into this. I dont think they can be in uniform and off-duty. I even asked a cop this and he said, "well... no one cares if we do. shh." And, they are supposed to get special permission from MPD to be doing any sort of off-duty work by filling out a PD form 180 - which is rarly done from what I was told. I agree, it does reflect poorly on MPD.

mitch said...

Valid point about the uniform bit if true. But no law is self enforcing so unless someone complains about it nothing is going to happen. Besides I don't think MPD officers working at CVS or other places is a bad thing.

Ofc. Caron said...

I'd like to say that police officers are above everything, but, we are not. Whether you are an interior designer, a truck driver, a lawyer, a waiter, a cop...there are good ones and bad ones in every profession. In this case, the off-duty officer is being paid by CVS, not our tax dollars. And unless someone talked to the Officer, there is no way of telling what he or she has had to deal with in their previous 8, 12, 16 hours of work/court (like Chris pointed out). Love us or hate us, the job is stressful and there always needs to be a pair of eyes in the back of our heads, an ear to the radio, and a sixth sense about what is going on. I asked MPD to hire me, I wasn't drafted, so I'm not complaining. I'd rather be on the street, assisting citizens, listening to complaints and yes, putting my life on the line. It beats my old desk job any day!

Sgt. Emerman said...

Officers working at the CVS are hired by CVS in part-time capacity. There are numerous rules regarding part time employment, and one of them requires that the officers wear their uniform to be visible to the public. We are prohibited from working in bars and restaurants that make a certain percentage of their income from the sale of alcohol. As a result, we do not work at bars, strip clubs, etc. In order to work at a part time location, the officer's supervisor (me for example) has to go to the job site and meet with the location manager and make sure that by working there, the officer is not in violation of any MPD policy, and that there are no conflict of interests by working there. As for what the job site allows them to do while there, such as play PSP, talk on the cellphone, that is up to the individual employer. There are certain things that the officers can't do, regardless of where they work, such as drink alcohol, but the majority are up to the site. Hope that this clears it up a bit.

dcbubble said...

sorry for being off topic

still cars are double parked on sunday

photos are at link below
http://dcbubble.blogspot.com/2006/01/as-far-as-we-can-see-it-aint-over-til.html

Sgt. Emerman said...

Did you call 311 regarding the vehicles today? I know that officers issued 11 tickets for parking related issues down there today.

Anonymous said...

Question on parking. Is certain churches being singled out or does this new policy effect every church in the Third District?

The reason I say this is news reports mention specific churches and leave out others in the area.

Sgt. Emerman said...

I am the supervisor of PSA 307. The boundaries of my PSA are 9th to 15th, and L to S. Anything that falls within that area is addressed to me, and therefore I have to guide the officers who patrol that area. I am not sure if other supervisors have received similar complaints in their respective PSAs.

Sgt. Emerman said...

Hey DC Bubble! Your link did not work. Is that an issue here with the Government computer or is there an error in the link? Please advise, thanks.

Anonymous said...

His blog is here: http://dcbubble.blogspot.com/

dcbubble said...

Sgt. send me an email. The moderator of this blog prefers this discussion off list. www.insidedcbubble.blogspot.com

there were maybe 30 or 40 cars double parked, parked on the curb or parked in no parking zones around 1 pm on Sunday.

here is the link again to the photos: http://dcbubble.blogspot.com/2006/01/as-far-as-we-can-see-in-dc-it-aint.html

rob marvin
I live on U street and am a member of the community

dcbubble said...

correct email is:
insidedcbubble@yahoo.com

www.dcbubble.blogspot.com

i am an idiot

dcbrat said...

This is so not a big issue. Really.

Anonymous said...

Me, a concerned citizen, would think that cops should have to take marriage counseling classes or family counseling, my daughter is married to a cop and he only knows how to take care of everyone else but his family, his excuse is that his job is very Impotant that he stay"s focused so he's too tired to worry about what should be her job, not his. and when my daughter goes to police gathering's that seem's to be everyone's attitude. How can a police Officer be a protecter of society and talk about how bad parent's are out there and that's why their is so much crime because thier parent's don't pay attention to them and then they have no time for thier own families. I believe with all the stress they are under they should be ordered to get counseling and family counseling. It would make them more aware of what might happen to thier own kid's if they have no time for them, that's why they don't understand why kid's are crying out. well i hope this open's up some eye's Thanks for listening and may GOD be With You .