Cincinnati Council debating off duty police fee

Nov 14, 2012

Cincinnati Council is again debating the police department's program where off-duty officers provide security for business and organizations in the city. The issue is who should pay for the administration costs of the program.

Council's Budget and Finance Committee heard this week the off-duty detail program costs the city about $676,000 a year.

City Budget Director Lea Eriksen said that translates to about $3.28 per hour.

Eriksen also said officials weighed the benefits off-duty officers have for public safety in the city.

"So based on that we are proposing to implement the off-duty detail fee at a rate of $1.64 per hour per vendor," Eriksen said. "So approximately 50 percent of the cost would be recovered from the vendor using the off-duty officer and then 50 percent would be absorbed by the city."

Under this, businesses in the city would pay a little more than $33 an hour to have an off-duty officer for security.

But a Council majority appears to have its own plan. They want to pass on the entire administrative fee to businesses.

"I for one don’t really think taxpayers should be stuck with administering off-duty pay to police officers who have the choice of whether they want to do these details," Council Member Laure Quinlivan said. "The cost should be passed on to either the police or the people that want to hire the police. But why would we pass that cost on to taxpayers."

In the past, police officers have objected to passing on the administrative fee to businesses because it will make city officers more expensive than Hamilton County Sheriff's deputies.

A spokesperson said the county charges $30 an hour for off duty details with a minimum of three hours.

The full Council will likely consider the issue Thursday.