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NYPD Postpones Clash With Yankees and MSG Over Hiring Off-Duty Officers

By Murray Weiss | August 11, 2016 4:33pm
 NYPD uniformed officers patrol Yankee Stadium, dozens from Paid Detail program for off-duty officers.
NYPD uniformed officers patrol Yankee Stadium, dozens from Paid Detail program for off-duty officers.
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DNAinfo/Patrick Wall

NEW YORK CITY — City officials Thursday postponed the start of a new contract that could have cost thousands of NYPD officers their off-duty side gigs as security guards at Yankee Stadium, other sports venues and banks — after DNAinfo New York broke a story that revealed the controversy.

The Yankees, Madison Square Garden and other big hitters had balked at the new NYPD contract, which was supposed to take effect Thursday, after the department included a demand that the private organizations pay for legal and medical costs if officers are sued or injured while working for them.

The teams, stadium operators and banks that hire off-duty officers to work in uniform at approximately $40 an hour, threatened to hire protection from private security that generally indemnify their employees if the changes went forward.

The new Paid Detail contract will now take effect Sept. 30 — giving both sides more time to hash out a new deal. It is also set for after Police Commissioner Bill Bratton's departure.

Since the program started nearly two decades ago, the indemnity issue was never explicitly defined as the responsibility of the venue or the department — until a customer thrown out of a supermarket big-box store by an off-duty NYPD officer doing security recently sued the company and the officer.

The Paid Detail program, which vets employers and officers, has proven to be a success, overcoming initial concerns about corruption issues, oversight and whether officers would forget their departmental responsibilities.

The program also allows easy access for officers to part-time employment, reducing the need to hustle for outside work to supplement their salaries that could lead them to jobs they should likely avoid, as well as possible corruption.

“The venues will adjust and the NYPD will have to work harder monitoring its officers' off-duty employment,” said one person involved in the situation. “But the only person really hurt is the officer who counts on the income who has to look to private security firms or off-the-books kind of jobs.”

Patrick Lynch, the police union president, insists that if city officers would receive higher salaries they would not need second jobs to support their families.