P. THOMAS SHANAHAN, the Anne Arundel County chief of police, should halt employment of his officers by one of his lieutenants, who is accused of hiring on-duty officers to provide security for private developers.
The Sun's Devon Spurgeon reported that Police Lt. Donald J. Hauf Jr. has hired officers he supervises to guard residential developments in Anne Arundel. The accusations, if proved, would present a serious conflict of interest.
Chief Shanahan was correct to launch an internal investigation while Lieutenant Hauf remains on the job. Either his private enterprise or his status as a police commander should cease while this matter is being resolved.
The county Ethics Commission advised a year ago that police officers should not "own or operate a private security firm employing off-duty county officers." Even less ambiguous is Police Department policy, which prohibits an officer from employing fellow officers.
In this case, the potential for conflict of interest is great. Because the lieutenant is responsible for determining police assignments, property owners who contract with his firm could receive favorable police treatment over those who do not have a business relationship with him.
Internal affairs investigators also must determine whether officers worked privately for the Lieutenant Hauf while on duty.
The lieutenant told The Sun that he needed to supplement his $61,696 salary. Moonlighting is nothing new for police. But if an officer wants to earn extra money, that must not appear to corrupt his or her public duties.
Chief Shanahan is correct to take this seriously. A major reason his department scrutinizes an officer's request to work a second job is to determine any potential conflict, he says. The chief must make clear the line between his officers' responsibilities to the department and their outside activities.
Pub Date: 5/18/99