Friday Question of the Day

05-22-08_1338, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

I noticed this MPD officer standing “guard” at the entrance to the Target. I know he wasn’t just talking on the phone because he was there when I left as well. So I was happy to see him there but isn’t there already mall security. Did the city work out some kind of deal where MPD officers are stationed within the Target? Is it possible the officer could have been working off duty in uniform? Has anyone else seen an MPD officer standing guard in the Target? I’m not sure it is the best use of MPD resources. Seems like it’d be way better to have that officer walking around the perimeter of the complex. So, assuming the officer was on duty the Friday question of the day is: Is it necessary to have an MPD officer inside the Target or would it be better better to have officers patrolling the neighborhood right around the DCUSA complex?

Updated: Just in case Mr. T in DC is right then this would be a pretty boring Friday question of the day. So I need a back up question. I took today off work to recover from the happy hour and noticed when I was walking around there were tons of people of all backgrounds out and about. I’m sure some are students but who is everyone else out and about at cafes etc. at 1:30 in the afternoon on a Thursday? I’ve noticed it in Adams Morgan too on 18th street. Tryst and the Diner always seem to be filled with folks. How do they get to do it?

23 Comment

  • I could be mistaken, but I believe they’re moonlighting as security for DCUSA, off-duty, no DC funds involved.

  • As a response to your follow-up question, not everyone works a 9-5 job, and those of us who don’t are really grateful. Working virtually is the best thing I’ve ever had happen to my career. It doesn’t matter if I get my job done at 1:30 in the afternoon or 1:30 in the morning. I may have been one of those people you saw out and about. Ain’t the Internet great?

  • Prince Of Petworth

    I was jealous the entire day!

  • In response to your original question, it seems that in certain American jurisdiction, Washington DC included, a business can “rent out” a police officer to provide security on their premises. This always seemed seriously improper and third-worldish to me. If you want an armed security guard, hire a guard; but the authority and powers of a government law enforcement officer should NEVER be for rent.

  • You never know. Target shoppers can get rowdy over those zippy good deals.

  • I work from home, with my own hours, so I make a point to run my errands and enjoy the local eating places on Tuesday at 1:30pm, when the crowds are busy at work. I hide in my house after 5:00pm (preferably 4:00pm). And most of the time on weekends, too. I think telecommuting is becoming more common.

  • They’re working a separate job. They have their police powers as they are in uniform, but they are being paid directly by the private company.
    I wonder why Expat is so against allowing a police officer to work a second job.
    It doesn’t detract from the police service being provided by the city. Also, officers are not allowed to work just any part-time job. The job has to be approved by the department.

  • There’s no problem with police officers having second jobs working security… the problem, to me, is if they are doing it in uniform. If they are not working for the city, they should not be wearing the uniform of the city. If Target wants a guard at the front as some sort of deterrent, then put a guard there. If they want a police officer with a gun, put him in the store in plainclothes. You can have the same effect without having the officers wear their MPD blues. The uniform makes it seem inappropriate…

  • It is a deal that the city had worked out before any of the construction was even completed though I don’t know the specifics. It pertains not just to Target – the whole new facility is guarded by MPD police officers. I think it is a far superior deterrent than private security officers.

  • I don’t like the idea of having Police officers moonlighting. How many hours can these guys work? I hear all the time that they are working huge amounts of overtime and gettign paid a bundle for it even when they are working for MPD. I assume that the job is both physically and mentally demanding…

    …do we want officers responding to emergency calls who were up all night working as security guard for nightclubs?

  • I’m sure there is a fair share of shoplifting stops that have to get enforced at that, and many other Targets.

  • I have a lovely job that gives me flexible hours, the ability to work from home when I want to (even though the office is a 20 min walk), so sometimes I grocery shop in the middle of the day on a Wednesday, sometimes I’m at a cafe reading on a Thursday afternoon. I go to yoga classes in the middle of the day. But then sometimes to put in all of my hours I end up working on a Saturday afternoon or late on a Thursday night … so there are the pros and cons to a flexible job.

  • I freelance, so you might see me at a cafe in the middle of the day. There are a number of careers where all you need is a laptop and WiFi!!

  • I have a flexible schedule as well. I have off every other Monday. So I try to get out and about that Monday. It’s nice becuase no one else is taking up space at the cafes.

  • This may not be immediately apparent, but one thing that every community wants is for its police officers to have plenty of money. It’s a really bad thing when officers have large debts- think about it. What would an officer do if he/she was desperate for money? That’s why it’s good for them to moonlight.

  • Think of how many fully staffed restaurants there are in DC; the service industry alone employs a lot of people who work nights, b/c that’s when people go out. Not to mention actors, musicians, and other such entertainers. That’ll fill up Tryst real quick…

  • One of my favorite neighborhood gathering places was a McDonalds in Ward 4, which had hired off-duty MPD for security. It was a great place to have a cup of coffee and converse with “the regulars”, which was a group of neigbors, mostly seniors. When the McDonald’s management decided to replace the MPD officers with a private security company, the place became less enjoyable to visit. The MPD officers were more professional and maintained a better standard of public orderliness than the security company.

  • it seems to me that police officers should be paid a living wage so they can enjoy their time off and not have to work 80 hours a week. in fact, i believe EVERYONE should be paid a living wage–and i don’t consider a multi-million pay package for an executive to be appropriate either. bring up the bottom and bring down the top. then people can have free time and live their lives.

  • As a follow up to the original question, yes an officer is always present. CVS across the street also has a perma-cop presence.

  • Some of us work at night as the bartenders who make you evening hours “happy.” Hope the recovery is going well!

  • A lot of the overtime comes from just doing the job police officers have to do. If an officer works a midnight shift, then going to court may be covered by “overtime” because he/she can’t go doing their midnight shift.

    Also, there are plenty of other things that go on around the city that require more than the regular amount of patrol officers available.
    You like going to parades in DC? Well, crowd control is covered by overtime officers.
    Marine Corps Marathon? Same.
    Nats/United/Wizards/Caps games? again . . .
    Officers are paid what they are paid because there’s almost no way to have enough officers around to cover everything and then not have a lot of officers sitting idle between the surges. Surges get covered with overtime officers, that’s just the way it goes.

  • I am a meeting planner and in every city I go to, I hire off duty police officers to provide the overnight security for our audio visual equipment? Why? Have any of you ever hired a security firm? Most of them are useless and I find them asleep at the desk in the morning. Police Officers are far more professional, even if they do cost more.

    And speaking of overtime work in DC – $1million per year of that is for all those motorcades. Nope – that doesn’t come out of federal funds, not for the MPD officers. You and I are paying for that one!

  • This is just ridiculous. I mean really people, do you have anything else better to do than to wonder about why a police officer is in Target and if he is working or not? Does it really matter??? Does it really interupt your day while shopping in Target that there is an officer at the front? And so what if he is on the phone, is that a crime? In your book I guess so because it bothered you so much that you actually took the time to take a picture and start a meaningless blog about this …..whatever you want to call it. Get a life please. There are alot of other things to worry about. On the news you hear about there not being enough police officers “on site” This is just a prime example – the police can’t please everyone, no matter what they do.

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