Arbitrator rules TPD officers can work bar security jobs

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - An arbitrator has ruled Toledo Police officers can work security jobs at bars and other establishments which sell liquor after the city had said they could not.

Toledo Police Patrolman Association (TPPA) President Dan Wagner said Tuesday that an arbitrator ruled in the union's favor. TPPA had appealed a decision by the mayor's office to stop the practice of TPD officers working private security at bars and events when not on the clock with the city.

"For 38 years we've been able to do it, and that was never brought forth that those types of projects were adverse or incompatible," Wagner said.

Wagner says having off-duty officers outside of bars in uniform helps the public feel safer and deters problems.

"On any given weekend, you'd have 60-70 extra officers on the streets of Toledo at no cost to the chief, and that's why we aren't sure why this argument was brought forward," he said.

The city had allowed cops to continue working security at some events and bars, but now Wagner says an arbitrator has ruled the city cannot tell officers which bars they can and cannot work for.

TPPA also asked to be reimbursed for lost wages, but the arbitrator says that will be left to negotiations between the city and TPPA. Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins says he'll likely want documentation.

"Out of these officers who are looking for back pay, I think it would only be responsible on our part that they produce their 1099s so that we can show that there's actually taxable income involved as it relates to this employment," Collins said.

Bar 145 in Toledo was one of the bars that used an off-duty officer for security. Owner Jeremy Fitzgerald says during the five months that they haven't been able to hire an officer, they've noticed a change in clientele. He says he's thrilled to hear they can go back to having police security.

"That's great news because I know we were pretty upset that we couldn't do it," he said. "We want to make sure our guests feel as safe as possible."

Reimbursement claims have to be filed by October 31 and the arbitrator will keep working with the city and TPPA through that process, until December 1.

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