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Police cleared for bingo work


Anne Arundel County Police Chief P. Thomas Shanahan has agreed to allow officers to work second jobs at bingo halls - reversing an earlier decision to prohibit their employment because police regulate gambling operations.

Police officials announced yesterday that after negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police, Shanahan said officers may work security details at Bingo World in Brooklyn Park and Treasure City in Annapolis during a six-month trial period.

Officers had been prohibited from taking jobs there after the executive director of the county's ethics commission issued an advisory opinion in November that there was a conflict of interest for officers working at bingo halls. The case never went before the full commission for an official review.

But because of the opinion, Shanahan ordered the ban. Officers already moonlighting as security guards for the bingo halls were allowed to continuing working there.

After months of negotiating with FOP lawyers, Shanahan agreed to the trial period, after which the policy will be reviewed, said department spokesman Lt. Joseph Jordan.

More than 10 officers who had applied to work security details at the bingo halls were left in limbo while the decision was being appealed through the union's grievance process, said FOP President Paul Ingley.

"The officers have been waiting," Ingley said. "The bingo halls have been waiting. We're glad the chief made this decision and that's over and settled."

As part of the agreement, officers must wear their uniforms and lieutenants will stop by the halls regularly to check on the off-duty officers, Jordan said.

The FOP and Police Department also agreed that officers would work only at the two bingo halls where officers are already employed, and would not expand to the other two halls.

Although police regulate bingo halls, Ingley said for most officers there is no conflict of interest because only officers assigned to the department's intelligence unit oversee gambling operations.

Police officials have not addressed other secondary employment issues, such as the prohibition on officers working at establishments that serve liquor.

Shanahan formed a study group last month to review the department's secondary employment policy. The group - made up of both labor and management - is charged with making recommendations about what constitutes a conflict of interest for officers who have other jobs.

The panel is also expected to research the secondary employment policies of other departments and issue an opinion about whether officers should be limited in the number of hours they spend on secondary jobs.

Union leaders had hoped they would be able to forward recommendations to the chief by the end of last month, but the group has not yet met.

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