If there’s one thing every law enforcement executive knows, it’s that extra-duty programs (or off-duty, overtime, or special event employment, depending on where you live) can generate much-needed income for officers. But if not handled correctly, such programs can be the source of conflicts that may keep even the most conscientious administrator up at night. Sure, most issues can be tackled with proper planning and oversight, but close attention to detail and some heavy lifting may be required to successfully navigate such a complex maze.
One of the biggest obstacles an inhouse administrator faces is when assigning extra-duty jobs. Administrators must adopt rules codified in agency policy or risk receiving complaints that job selections were not handled fairly.
For instance, how many times have you heard the complaint that off-duty schedulers “hand pick” assignments for their friends? Such favoritism can lead to poor morale and even conflicts among officers. Some agencies get around this by assigning multiple officers to the same detail, but this only strains what’s usually an already stretched budget.
Yes, managing an extra-duty program is simply not as easy as it seems.
Simple or Complex?
Once an extra-duty program has been implemented, agencies often find that in-house management monopolizes more time and resources that was initially expected. Agency leaders aren’t usually aware of the hidden costs and amount of time needed to invoice customers, chase debts, manage vouchers, answer questions, or reach out to neighboring departments to help fill unfilled details. Without careful consideration of these factors before assigning officers to program management duties, agencies may find themselves forced to place officers who are needed on the streets into administrative desk jobs.
Moreover, many agency leaders don’t initially consider the high potential for non-payment. Some customers will never pay their bills on time and some may not even pay at all, leaving officers waiting sometimes weeks or months for payment. This not only makes officers less eager to work but can also destabilize the finances of an agency or municipality.
Planning for Pitfalls
Although your may be able to avoid the most challenging issues by planning for such pitfalls, there will always be unforeseen obstacles. Due to this, many agencies choose to outsource management duties to a third-party program administrator.
Extra-duty administrators are specially trained in collections, payments, job scheduling, and program best practices so your officers don’t have to learn these complex skills. Moreover, professional administrators can mitigate an agency’s legal and financial risks and provide guidance on best practices, policies, and procedures.
The best part?
Most extra-duty management companies generate their income by charging the customer so their services cost an agency nothing.
Whether you choose to manage your extra-duty program inhouse or outsource it to a professional management company such as Extra Duty Solutions, your officers will always appreciate the opportunity to earn some well-deserved extra cash.