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Berkeley Police Tripled Off-Duty Security Work in 2020

An audit by the Bay Area city found that a lack of oversight on police overtime work could be costing the public. 

A security guard outside of a Gucci store in San Francisco. Demand is growing for off-duty police officers to provide private security for businesses. 

A security guard outside of a Gucci store in San Francisco. Demand is growing for off-duty police officers to provide private security for businesses. 

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

A new report from the city auditor’s office in Berkeley, California, has raised concerns over a lack of oversight of police officers’ work for private businesses and other non-city purposes.

The analysis found that Berkeley police spent 5,596 hours working for non-city institutions during their off-duty overtime in fiscal year 2020, more than three times as much as the previous year. More than half of those hours were spent working for the Apple store. The growing reliance on the practice in the Bay Area city comes as other cities’ police departments, like New York’s, put more resources into their own paid detail programs.