244 – Extra Employment

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Purpose

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) allows employees to hold extra employment when off duty with specific conditions and restrictions. This is a privilege afforded to employees, and it may be restricted at the discretion of an employee’s chain of command or the discretion of the Sheriff. The extra employment must not interfere with an employee’s performance of his or her official duties as an employee of Harris County, and it must not cause conflicts of interest between Harris County and the extra employment.

This policy applies to all employees and sets forth guidelines, conditions, and restrictions related to extra employment. The employee and his or her immediate supervisor have equal responsibility of ensuring the employee working the extra employment adheres to this policy. Any supervisory-required condition of working extra employment in addition to the restrictions of this policy (for example, an explanatory letter for plain clothes or use of county equipment) is the responsibility of that supervisor.

Definitions

After-Hours Club: Any club or alcoholic beverage establishment that has extended its business hours of operation beyond 2 A.M. The Extra Employment Unit (EEU) shall make the final determination as to what constitutes an after-hours club.

Alcoholic Beverage Establishment: Any location for which the primary purpose is the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages or where 51% or greater of the business’ income is derived from the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the business premises. This also includes any rental or temporary facilities where alcoholic beverages are sold, served, or consumed or if the rental or temporary location has a cover charge or entry fee.

Annual Extra Employment: Extra employment that lasts longer than thirty (30) calendar days and will expire at the end of the year the application is submitted.

Business: The owner, manager, or person in control of the establishment, the physical location of the building, and all surrounding property related to the establishment (that includes the parking lot and any traffic control location that leads directly into the business). Businesses that share the same parking lot and are clearly operating independently may be treated as separate extra employment.

Coordinator: The liaison between the employer and other HCSO employees working the extra job. If the employee has administrative duties (including coordination with other employees) in addition to his or her regular duties for the employer, the employee may list him- or herself as a coordinator on the extra employment application. In such cases, the coordinator may coordinate the job but shall not have supervisory authority over other personnel beyond that which is commensurate with his or her official departmental rank.

Eight-Liner (8-Liner): Any amusement redemption machine that provides a player the chance to be rewarded a prize from a single play that is the result of, but not limited to, the outcome of three (3) lines horizontal, three (3) lines vertical, or two (2) lines diagonal on the machine’s game screen.

Emergency Equipment: For the purposes of this policy, a red, white, or blue beacon, flashing, or alternating light, or any combination thereof, attached to a vehicle.

Escort of Convenience: Escorts by vehicle or motorcycle with emergency equipment in use, operated by an officer, where no emergency exists. Examples: sports teams, wedding parties, or corporate executives. Funeral, house, or oversized load escorts are not considered escorts of convenience. [CALEA Standard 61.3.3]

Extra Employment (Extra Job): Any employment for a person or entity other than the HCSO for which compensation is received, including law-enforcement-related extra employment and non-law-enforcement-related extra employment. Extra employment also includes time volunteered without compensation if the service provided includes law-enforcement-related work.

  • Law Enforcement: Any extra employment either in uniform or plain clothes where certified personnel function in a law enforcement capacity (e.g.: security, crowd control, traffic control, etc.).
  • Non-Law Enforcement: Any type of extra employment where non-law enforcement services are performed (e.g.: nursing, clerical, sales, teaching, etc.).

Extra Employment System: The online HCSO system for the application and management of an employee’s extra employment.

Game Room: For the purposes of this policy, any business, building, or place that contains six (6) or more 8-liner machines.

Generic Police Car: For the purposes of this policy, any non-HCSO-owned vehicle equipped with emergency equipment, markings, and / or decals or any combination thereof that would indicate a law enforcement presence.

The markings or decals depicted on the vehicle can only state or imply:

  • Sheriff,
  • Police,
  • Law Enforcement, or
  • Peace Officer.

The markings or decals shall not depict or represent any specific named law enforcement department, agency, or organization.

No HCSO employee may drive a generic police car that displays any part of a guard company’s name, identification, or contact information represented on the vehicle.

House Rules: Rules that are not specifically authorized by local ordinance, state law, or federal law; typically, rules of the extra employment employer.

Temporary Extra Employment: Extra employment duration lasting thirty (30) calendar days or shorter.

Work Day: The twenty-four (24) hour period immediately following the beginning time of an employee’s regularly-scheduled shift.

Work Hours: The total amount of hours worked that includes all time spent on any HCSO duties AND all time spent on any extra employment.

Work Week: The period beginning at the start of the work day the employee returns to duty after completing his or her regularly-assigned days off and ending at the end of the workday the employee begins his or her regularly-scheduled days off.

Policy

Employee Responsibilities

All personnel who desire to engage in extra employment must recognize that their primary duty, obligation, and responsibility is to the HCSO. [CALEA Standard 22.2.5 b & e]

While engaged in extra employment, employees must comply with all rules, regulations, policies, and procedures set forth by the HCSO including, but not limited to: the department policies, any bureau procedural manual, and any applicable HCSO or bureau memoranda.

Deputies working extra employment must enforce all county, state, and federal laws.

Any employee who is involved in, or is aware of, an incident arising from extra employment that might adversely affect the HCSO or Harris County and could require investigation or review shall report such incident to the EEU and the employee’s chain of command, in writing, within twenty-four (24) hours.

Workers’ compensation, public liability, or legal representation benefits provided by Harris County may not be available to employees who work extra employment. Employees are advised to determine what coverage is available to them from their extra employment employers.

If a deputy works extra employment in unincorporated Harris County and observes, or is informed of, an incident requiring an offense report, he or she shall contact the HCSO Communications Division, obtain a case number, and generate the proper report. If an arrest is made or the incident is a major crime scene, the arresting deputy shall give the necessary information to the patrol deputy, who will then transport, generate proper reports, and file charges when necessary. A deputy working in another police agency’s jurisdiction shall be required to notify that agency’s dispatch and request a unit if transportation or a report is necessary. The deputy working extra employment may be required to make a report if requested by any transporting officer.

If a deputy or civilian employee working extra employment is informed by a complainant, witness, or suspect of an incident committed, the employee will inform the proper agency of jurisdiction and request a unit to make the required report. The deputy working extra employment may be required to make a report if he or she collects evidence, receives information, or interviews a complainant, witness, or suspect who would not be immediately available to the reporting unit.

Supervisory Authority

The EEU is authorized to approve or disapprove any extra employment in accordance with this policy. [CALEA Standard 22.2.5 a, c & d]

The EEU is authorized to investigate and enforce all provisions for extra employment, including application for, denial, or revocation, and conditions that prohibit extra employment.

Supervisors shall be responsible for the types and hours of extra employment worked by employees under their direct supervision and policy compliance at extra employment locations that they may have contact with while in the performance of their supervisory duties.

Bureau or division commanders have the discretion to require policy compliance checks at extra employment locations in their region or district.

Application Process

All employees in good standing are deemed eligible to work extra employment. All employees desiring to work extra employment must complete the online extra employment application prior to working any extra employment. The submission of a completed extra employment application represents the employee’s temporary authority to work the extra employment pending final review and approval by the employee’s immediate supervisor.[CALEA Standard 22.2.5 a & c]

An extra employment application shall be submitted for every extra job worked, including self-employment.

To submit an application, the requesting employee will access the Extra Employment form through the “HCSO Employee Log-In” link located on the HCSO public website (www.harriscountyso.org) and input the requested information.

To be a valid and authorized extra job, the extra employment must be in compliance with this policy and all other HCSO policies, general orders, and standard operating procedures (SOPs).

The online application must be complete, electronically submitted and on file prior to working the extra employment.

Supervisory approval will not be required to initiate the extra employment application process. However, when an employee submits an extra employment permit application, he or she will be required to notify his or her immediate supervisor via e-mail regarding the application for extra employment.

Supervisors shall approve or disapprove all permit applications submitted by their subordinates within ten (10) calendar days following notification of the permit application.

The extra employment application authorizes extra employment for a specific business and address. [CALEA Standard 22.2.4]

If the business has multiple locations (e.g., Wal-Mart, Whataburger, Chase Bank, etc.), the employee will list all addresses where duties will be performed, provided the locations are owned by or are part of the same business.

Only construction and motorcycle escort extra employment types, due to their transient nature, are not required to have all addresses where duties will be performed listed.

The EEU may authorize certain extra employment where the duty addresses “may vary.” In these circumstances, the job duties for the extra employment must be fully listed and approved by the employee’s supervisor prior to being worked.

If the extra employment is law-enforcement-related and worked through a management or services providing company (e.g., security guard company, temporary agency, etc.) that is coordinating law enforcement officer services for other businesses, then the employee will request and submit an application for each individual business and address that the management company is representing or coordinating prior to working the extra employment. The employee will note in the “Comments” section which business or company name that is coordinating the extra employment.

Listing “various businesses” or “various locations” will not be acceptable for this business type of extra employment.

Annual extra employment shall be valid until the last day of the current year. After that date, the extra employment permit will expire and must be renewed if the employee is going to work at the business in the upcoming year.

Employees will be able to renew all annual extra employment permits beginning the first day of the new year.

Employees can only cancel an extra employment application after a supervisor-approved extra employment application has been submitted.

Temporary extra employment permits shall be valid until the 30th day from the date of the extra employment application’s submission. After that date, the permit will be automatically cancelled.

If any information on the employee’s extra employment application changes (e.g., locations, names of businesses, days or hours, employer name, coordinator name, etc.) prior to expiration date, the employee shall cancel and resubmit a completed new application.

Denial or Revocation of Extra Employment

Any application that does not meet the requirements of this policy shall not be approved and will be rejected. [CALEA Standard 22.2.5 c]

A supervisor may order an extra employment application to be revoked or denied if it is in the best interest of the HCSO or employee, including the employee’s health and the ability to discharge HCSO obligations, or if the supervisor determines the employee is not eligible for extra employment (e.g., new employee or newly-commissioned probation). Any such action taken shall be documented in the supervisor’s comments section, after it has been submitted, via the supervisor’s management portal.

Any employee whose extra employment application is denied or revoked may appeal the action, in writing to the employee’s bureau commander, within ten (10) working days of the date of revocation or denial. The decision of the bureau commander shall be final.

Any HCSO supervisor who becomes aware of violations of this policy shall take appropriate action as warranted. Any such action taken shall be documented in the supervisor’s comments section.

Circumstances Prohibiting Extra Employment

Situations where employees might agree to work and be authorized for extra employment in advance of circumstances that later disqualify them from extra job eligibility are possible. Therefore, if any of the following circumstances arise, the employee shall immediately resign from the extra employment and notify the EEU. Disqualifying variables may be added or retracted at the discretion of the Sheriff or his or her designee. [CALEA Standards 22.2.4 & 22.2.5 c]

No extra employment shall be worked or authorized if:

  1. The EEU or the employee’s chain of command has temporarily revoked the employee’s permission to submit for extra employment. Reasons may include, but are not limited to: any employee who has been suspended, relieved of duty, is on injury leave, workers’ compensation, sick leave, any type of leave of absence, or has otherwise been instructed in writing not to work extra employment;
  2. The deputy or detention deputy fails to qualify during annual HCSO weapon qualifications;
  3. The maximum extra employment hours are exceeded per day or week;
  4. A portion of the extra employment occurs during the employee’s scheduled duty hours and no authorized leave is being taken.
    • Example: checking by on duty, “keeping an eye on the place,” or any task related to extra employment;
    • NOTE: If an employee works an extra job immediately before or after his or her regularly scheduled work hours, reasonable travel time to or from the extra job location must be taken into account and reflected on either the employee’s time and attendance record or the extra job application or pay record.
  5. Employees shall not work extra employment for a full sixteen (16) hours after the end of their regular tour of duty on the day they take sick leave. This prohibition does not apply to verifiable doctor appointments or family sick time;
  6. The employee returns from extended leave of absence without first successfully completing all required testing in compliance with department policy;
  7. The owner or manager of the business is of questionable character;
  8. The business or its agents have been found to be consistently or frequently in violation of state or federal law or county and city ordinances;
  9. Permits or licenses are required, or other regulations are imposed on the business, and such licenses, permits, or regulations are not complied with by the business;
  10. The EEU has determined the extra employment is not in the best interest of the HCSO or the extra employment might bring ridicule or unfavorable publicity to the HCSO;
  11. The extra employment involves the collection of debts, repossession of property, or the serving or execution of any civil process. This will also include any type of civil standby;
  12. The business or location is not suitable for extra employment or a potential conflict of interest exists;
  13. The location or nature of the extra employment could be highly controversial, such as, but not limited to: the location of a labor dispute, an abortion clinic, or a protest march;
  14. The business is one where topless, bottomless, or totally nude performers appear on the premises, including the business-related parking areas;
  15. The business, or its management, restricts the employee from certain areas of the premises;
  16. The business, or its management, expects the employee to enforce “house rules”;
  17. The employer is a game room, has eight-liners on property, or is an establishment involved in a gambling game other than licensed bingo, the Texas Horse Racing Commission, or the Texas Lottery Commission, including the business-related parking areas;
  18. Fewer deputies and / or supervisors are present at the extra employment than the minimum necessary for adequate officer safety operations as determined by the EEU, any on-scene field supervisor, or as required by this policy;
  19. An employee obtains or possesses a license or commission from the Texas Department of Public Safety Private Security Bureau;
  20. An employee agrees or arranges with an employer to be paid a flat rate for services from which the employee will pay other employees. (e.g., the coordinating employee collects $100 per shift while paying other employees $80 per shift);
  21. The person or business for which the employee works requires the employee to sign a “hold harmless indemnity agreement” as a condition of employment. An agreement of this type, if the employer is sued, could hold the employee responsible for the employer’s attorney fees and litigation expenses. All contracts should be referred to the HCSO legal counsel for review;
  22. The extra employment involves being an expert witness where the employee will be giving his or her opinion on any matter involving or investigated by the HCSO, any other Harris County agency, or another law enforcement agency, unless the employee’s testimony is given on behalf of Harris County, any of its agencies, employees, or another law enforcement agency;
  23. The extra employment involves the use of HCSO records;
  24. The person or business for which the employee works refuses, or has refused, to cooperate in an investigation related to the extra employment;
  25. The employee is a civilian or detention officer and the extra employment is law-enforcement-related (e.g., security guard, private investigator, police officer or reserve, or jailer);
  26. The civilian or detention officer displays, wears, or utilizes any portion of HCSO-issued uniforms, jackets, hats, caps, or equipment at an extra employment location;
  27. An employee is injured or rendered incapable of performing normal job assignments, including a physical or mental condition;
  28. The extra employment is law-enforcement-related and the employee is a temporary or part-time detention deputy, a temporary or part-time deputy, or a reserve deputy;
  29. The extra employment is police-related at an alcoholic beverage establishment (including the surrounding business-related parking areas) located outside of any county contiguous to Harris County (Brazoria, Fort Bend, Waller, Montgomery, Liberty, Chambers, and Galveston Counties);
  30. The employee is hired to drive or use any non-HCSO-owned vehicle with police emergency equipment, markings, or decals or any combination thereof that represent or imply an official law enforcement entity;
  31. Prohibited words depicted on markings or decals of third-party-owned vehicles include, but are not limited to:
    • Sheriff,
    • Police,
    • Law Enforcement, and
    • Peace Officer; and
  32. Detention deputies may not work extra employment at a nightclub (or “club”) or apartment security extra employment.

Restrictions

The following restrictions apply to extra employment jobs: [CALEA Standard 22.2.4]

Newly hired or promoted employees applying for “Law Enforcement” extra employment must have completed entry-level probation unless the employee was previously a commissioned deputy with the HCSO for a minimum of one (1) year or has petitioned for and received approval from his or her bureau commander.

Any employee applying for “Non-Law Enforcement” extra employment must have completed entry-level probation unless the employee has petitioned for and received approval from his or her bureau commander.

A deputy who has not been commissioned as a peace officer by the HCSO for a minimum of six (6) months cannot work apartment security or work at an alcoholic beverage establishment unless the employee has petitioned for and received approval from his or her bureau commander.

A deputy may work extra employment at an alcoholic beverage establishment or at any type of private reception, party, or gathering where alcoholic beverages will be consumed only when at least two (2) uniformed peace officers are working simultaneously at the extra employment location. Under normal conditions, this restriction does not apply to the following establishments: restaurants, hotels, and motels. However, if any of these establishments have the 51% TABC felony warning sign with red lettering posted or the deputy is being utilized by the establishment for a private reception, party, or special event, including the surrounding parking areas, and alcoholic beverages will be consumed, then those establishments will fall under this restriction.

All clubs* must maintain a roster of all deputies working at the business. This roster will include the deputies’ names and the dates and times they work at the club. Any HCSO employee coordinator of such job has the responsibility of ensuring the business is in compliance with this requirement.

*A club is defined as any alcoholic beverage establishment that is required to post the 51% TABC felony warning sign with red lettering.

Other than uniforms and police-related equipment, no county equipment of any kind, unless operated at no further expense to the HCSO, may be used while the deputy is in the actual performance of extra employment.

Uniformed extra employment shall not be worked unless the deputy is wearing a complete, unmodified, department-authorized uniform. Specialized uniforms shall not be worn unless the specialized uniform is required in job performance and approved by the bureau commander (e.g., a deputy assigned to the Motorcycle section shall not work in riding attire unless actually performing motorcycle duties). This restriction applies to any specialized HCSO-approved uniforms (e.g., Bicycle, Bomb Squad, Marine Unit, Mounted Patrol, etc.).

If the extra employment is law-enforcement-related and the employee will be in plain clothes, then the employee will provide a description of the attire and nature of the assignment in the comments section. “Plain clothes” is defined in HCSO Policy 240, “Dress Code.”

A department-approved reflective safety vest with the marking “SHERIFF” shall be worn with the uniform any time the extra employment requires the deputy to direct traffic or to be involved in a traffic control function.

Where extra employment would involve the employee’s direct engagement in the sale of intoxicating liquor (e.g., clerk in a liquor store, bartender, etc.).

For every eight (8) HCSO deputies that are engaged in extra employment at the same location, at the same time, there must be a HCSO supervisor, the rank of sergeant or higher, present at all times. If the extra employment requires twenty-four (24) deputies, one (1) lieutenant, or higher, and three (3) sergeants, or higher, must be present at all times.

Employees may request to use emergency equipment, as defined by this policy, on their personally-owned vehicles (POVs) for use at an appropriate extra employment location. The usage of the emergency equipment shall be limited to roadway construction-type extra employment. The emergency equipment shall be temporarily affixed to POVs so they can be removed or rendered indiscernible outside of extra employment duties. The employee may not use the emergency equipment to block or to impede traffic on any open thoroughfare or to make vehicle traffic stops during or outside of their extra employment. The employee shall maintain at least the minimum amount of required liability insurance for his or her personal vehicle when it is being used in an extra employment capacity.

An employee who works as a full-time peace officer may work extra employment for a private security company or an employer in the private security business insofar as such employment has been determined not to be in conflict with the best interests of the HCSO. Any such employment shall be limited to providing patrol, guard, watchman, or deputy coordinator services if such services are being provided by the employee as an individual contractor and if such services do not require a license or commission from the Texas Private Security Board (see Texas Occupations Code Section 1702.322, as amended). All current policies, procedures, and restrictions regarding extra employment apply to this section. Reserve peace officers are not eligible to work extra employment as provided by this section.

An employee may receive compensation for time spent on administrative duties as a deputy coordinator for an employer if such duties are within the scope of services provided as a patrolman, guard, or watchman for the employer. However, any payments or records for coordinating functions should be separate or distinct from payments for regular hours worked.

Extra Employment Hours

Limitations on HCSO duties and extra employment:

  1. No employee may work more than sixteen (16) hours of HCSO duties and / or extra employment in any twenty-four (24) hour period unless directed or approved by his or her bureau commander; and
  2. No employee may work more than eighty-eight (88) hours of HCSO duties and / or extra employment in any consecutive seven (7) day period unless directed or approved by his or her bureau commander; and
  3. During his or her work week, no employee may work in excess of seventy-two (72) hours of HCSO duties and / or extra employment unless directed or approved by his or her bureau commander; and
  4. During his or her regularly scheduled days off, no employee may work in excess of sixteen (16) hours on each scheduled day off from HCSO duties and / or extra employment unless directed or approved by his or her bureau commander.

Supplemental Conditions:

Special programs or assignments (e.g., Selective Traffic Enforcement Program [STEP], overtime, off-duty court appearances, etc.) will be counted as HCSO duties. All such work hours:

  1. Shall be included in the maximum work hours set forth in paragraph 1 above; and
  2. Consequently reduce the number of hours permitted for extra employment.

Compensatory or vacation time taken off duty may be deducted from the total number of HCSO duty hours worked, thus increasing the number of hours permitted for extra employment.

Sick time taken shall not be deducted from the total number of HCSO duty hours worked.

Off-Duty Motorcycle Escorts – Minimum Requirements

Deputies who meet the following criteria may apply to the EEU, through their immediate supervisor, for an off-duty police motorcycle escort permit: [CALEA Standard 61.3.3]

Prior to submitting the extra employment application request, the employee must have the motorcycle inspected for HCSO compliance by designated personnel assigned to the Vehicular Crimes Division. Motorcycles shall be inspected using the department form.

Any deputy requesting approval of a motorcycle must possess a valid Texas driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement and a valid liability insurance policy that covers the motorcycle the deputy desires to operate on extra employment.

Upon completion of a successful inspection of the motorcycle, the Vehicular Crimes Division supervisor may assign the deputy a radio number and advise the Communications Division of that number.

Any motorcycle that has received a “poor” rating, in any category, must be repaired prior to receiving the inspector’s approval.

All motorcycles shall be inspected at least once annually by a Vehicular Crimes Supervisor during mandatory requalification training. Such inspection shall ensure safe mechanical operation and compliance with state inspection regulations and also ensure conformity with HCSO policies. A motorcycle may be inspected at any time by a Vehicular Crimes Division supervisor.

The following motorcycle equipment specifications shall be followed

  1. Motorcycles shall comply with manufacturers’ heavy-duty police package specifications and shall be white-colored with black accents. The gas tank, front fender, and fairing shall be white. The saddlebags and radio box (including mounting) shall be black. Motorcycles shall not be older than eight (8) years from the original date of purchase (e.g., a motorcycle, 1994 model in crate, purchased in 1995, may be ridden through the year 2003). Any and all of these requirements may be waived by the Sheriff or his or her designee. The only pre-approved models are the Harley Davidson Road King model FLHP, the Harley Davidson Electra Glide model FLHTP, and the Honda Gold Wing converted to the above specifications. As current approved motorcycles are replaced, they must conform to this policy.
  2. Motorcycles must be equipped with electric turn indicators with red or amber lenses.
  3. Motorcycles must be equipped with black-colored molded plastic saddlebags.
  4. Motorcycles must be equipped with a safety windshield. Unless a motorcycle police package for a particular model comes with fairing as standard equipment, no other fairing shall be allowed.

Minimum emergency equipment shall consist of

  1. An electronic siren capable of at least two (2) tones with an air horn,
  2. Two (2) standard LED flashing lights to the front: one (1) red LED on the left and one (1) blue LED on the right,
  3. Four-way flashers visible from the front and rear shall be amber colored, and
  4. Alternating flashing emergency LED lights to the rear shall be red and blue-colored.
  5. All emergency lights will be LEDs.
  6. Motorcycles must have a police-type solo seat installed.
  7. Motorcycles must have engine and saddlebag guards installed.
  8. Motorcycles may be equipped with an 800 MHz two-way radio capable of communicating on HCSO frequencies designated by the Patrol Bureau commander.
  9. The radio box should be a standard Motorola-type radio box, or of the same dimensions, and black-colored. The radio box shall not have any switches or accessories mounted on or attached to it with the exception of a radio antenna or county- issued computer.
  10. Decorative hardware is strictly prohibited.
  11. Removable vehicle wraps in lieu of painting is strictly prohibited.
  12. Motorcycles shall display, and have permanently affixed, the following decals:
    • “SHERIFF” affixed to the front safety windshield,
    • HCSO badge decal affixed to each side of the gas tank,
    • “SHERIFF” affixed to each saddlebag, centered and visible from the side. NOTE: These decals shall only be the official authorized lettering as applied to HCSO marked vehicles. No other markings are allowed, and no magnetic decal or facsimiles will be utilized.
  13. An assigned, and prominently displayed, identifying number affixed to the rear of the saddlebags shall be issued by the Vehicular Crimes Division.

Uniform specifications are as follows

Personnel riding motorcycles as prescribed above shall comply with the same uniform requirements for the Vehicular Crimes Division motorcycle personnel as set forth in HCSO Policy 240, “Dress Code.”

Those parts of the uniform that are not HCSO issue shall be purchased at the expense of the requesting deputy.

The approved HCSO motorcycle insignia is an authorized uniform item to be worn by the deputies assigned to the Vehicular Crimes Division.

No deputy shall operate a motorcycle that meets the above specifications at any time unless he or she is wearing the prescribed uniform of the Vehicular Crimes Division and performing in a capacity that does not violate the above, or any other, HCSO policy.

No deputy shall ride any motorcycle with police equipment attached that has not been inspected and approved unless the deputy is test-riding the motorcycle for possible purchase, riding to inspection, or riding to the original forty-hour Police Motorcycle Operator course taught and sponsored by the HCSO.

Deputies must successfully complete the TCOLE-approved HCSO basic eighty-hour Police Motorcycle Operator course prior to riding an extra employment escort. Each year thereafter, those deputies shall complete the HCSO-approved sixteen-hour Police Motorcycle Operator course. The only course approved and accepted will be the training course taught and sponsored by the HCSO and instructed by certified police motorcycle instructors assigned to the Vehicular Crimes Division. A copy of the deputy’s certificate of completion shall be submitted to the EEU.

Deputies failing to complete the annual HCSO-approved sixteen-hour Police Motorcycle Operator course successfully shall be immediately suspended from participating in the off-duty motorcycle escort program and any other department motorcycle unit program until successful completion of the course.

Deputies attending the school may only ride the motorcycle they are using for extra employment. If the deputy purchases a different make or model motorcycle, he or she must attend the next recertification course prior to riding it for extra employment duties.

Deputies must ensure that a copy of their yearly (most current) inspection certificate and HCSO Police Motorcycle Operator course certificate are on file with the EEU. This may be done subsequent to submitting the extra employment application, and the one approved extra employment form will be good for all escorts provided a monthly report is submitted by the deputy to the EEU. The monthly reports shall include the company names, locations, phone numbers, contact persons, and load permit numbers, if applicable.

Motorcycle escort guidelines are as follows:

  1. Escorts shall be limited to funerals and oversize or over-length load escorts. Convenience escorts are prohibited. Any exceptions regarding the authorized use of emergency equipment must first be approved either by the Patrol Bureau commander, the Sheriff, or his or her designee.
  2. Deputies shall ensure that an oversized or over-length load has all required permits (city, county, and state) before moving a vehicle. Deputies shall not unnecessarily deviate from the route designated on the permit.
  3. In the event of any signal or infrastructure damage that is caused by an escorted load, the escorting deputy is required to make a written report of the incident and immediately forward it to the Vehicular Crimes Division. If such damage requires immediate attention, the escorting deputy shall notify the Communications Division and request the proper agency to be notified.
  4. Departmental funeral escorts will be limited to those funerals of active employees, their spouses, or their children. A departmental funeral escort can be conducted at the direction of the Sheriff or his or her designee.
  5. Department funeral escorts will be coordinated by the Vehicular Crimes Division.
  6. Line-of-duty funeral escorts will be performed under the direction of the Vehicular Crimes Division.
  7. Funeral escorts will be conducted holding a stationary point in an intersection. A deputy will remain stopped until relieved and will not ride in circles, figure eights, or any other acrobatic maneuver.
  8. Deputies conducting funeral escorts must be cognizant of the needs of the motoring public and minimize traffic congestion. Controlled-access freeways will be avoided whenever possible.

If the escort entails leaving Harris County, emergency equipment may be utilized, and all traffic laws shall be obeyed.

All complaints against any deputy while in the performance of approved motorcycle escort extra employment shall be referred to the Vehicular Crimes Division for either resolution or forwarding for further investigation (e.g., Blue Team reporting application). A Vehicular Crimes Division supervisor shall advise the involved deputy’s immediate supervisor. Complaints will be investigated in accordance with existing HCSO policy. The EEU will be notified of any sustained complaints.

If a complaint is sustained, sanctions can include temporary or permanent suspension of extra employment motorcycle operation. The Patrol Bureau commander is the suspending authority.

A roster of all deputies with approved motorcycles, motorcycle numbers, and unit numbers shall be maintained by the Vehicular Crimes Division and the EEU.

All deputies with approved motorcycles shall be subject to performing special assignments as directed by competent authority. When conducting a special assignment, a deputy will be considered “on duty” and compensated in accordance with existing Harris County policies. Special assignments will be coordinated by the Vehicular Crimes Division.

All deputies with an approved off-duty motorcycle escort permit are subject to being directed to perform special assignment escorts on occasion in lieu of maintaining eligibility for motorcycle recertification and off-duty escort privileges. The Vehicular Crimes Division commander will maintain a motorcycle escort special assignments roster.

The roster will be maintained in alphabetical order and will rotate in the same manner. The rotation for special assignments will be posted monthly.

The Vehicular Crimes Division commander has the authority to increase or decrease the requested number of special assignments.

Authorized absences (preapproved vacation, sick leave, etc.) will be justification for not performing a special assignment escort. However, the deputy will remain in the rotation until an escort is performed.

After three (3) unauthorized refusals, the deputy may be placed on a thirty-day suspension of off-duty motorcycle privileges.

If a deputy violates the thirty-day suspension, he or she will be subject to a one-year suspension of off-duty motorcycle privileges.

If a deputy violates the one-year suspension, he or she will be subject to a permanent suspension of off-duty motorcycle privileges. The Patrol Bureau commander is the final authority on matters regarding suspension of off-duty motorcycle privileges.

Off-Duty Bicycle Patrol – Minimum Requirements

Deputies who wish to ride a bicycle in an extra employment capacity must follow the guidelines as established by the Patrol Bureau for bicycle patrol (see Patrol Bureau SOP #502, “Bicycle Patrol”). The following are the minimum requirements of any employee who desires to use a bicycle as part of any extra employment:

Any deputy wishing to ride a bicycle for extra employment must first attend and pass the forty-hour, TCOLE-approved, bicycle patrol certification course. This training consists of eight (8) hours of orientation to cycling and thirty-two (32) hours of patrol tactics. The supervisor of the Parks Section may be contacted for information concerning this training.

Deputies must have bicycles inspected annually and meet the following requirements:

  1. Prior to submitting the extra employment application request, the employee must have the bicycle inspected for HCSO compliance by designated personnel assigned to the Parks Section. The bicycle shall be inspected using the standard bicycle inspection form.
  2. Bicycles will not be inspected for the purpose of extra employment until bicycle training has been verified.
  3. At no time shall any county-owned bicycle units issued through a contracting entity be used for the purposes of extra employment in areas other than the issuing contract.
  4. A roster of all deputies with approved bicycles shall be maintained by the Parks Section with a copy given to EEU.
  5. All deputies with approved bicycles shall be subject to performing special assignments as directed by competent authority. When conducting a special assignment, a deputy will be considered “on duty” and compensated in accordance with existing Harris County policies. Special assignments will be coordinated by the Parks Section.
  6. Deputies must wear the uniform that is approved for bicycle patrol while working any extra employment.

Those personnel that meet certification and equipment requirements that are not assigned to a bicycle unit of the Patrol Bureau shall be required to purchase the proper uniform at the employee’s expense.

The approved uniform is described in HCSO Policy 240, “Dress Code.”

Any deputy who rides a bicycle under the color of the HCSO shall be required to be in compliance with the uniform adopted for the Bicycle Patrol Unit. Failure to abide by these standards may result in disciplinary action. Any deputy not currently assigned to the Bicycle Patrol Unit who fails to abide by the above mentioned standards will have his or her name removed from the roster of personnel approved for bicycle assignments and extra employment.

After completing the required training and inspection, deputies who request to utilize their bicycles in extra employment shall submit an application for extra employment with the box labeled “Bicycle Patrol” checked.

Off-Duty All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Patrol – Minimum Requirements

The use of any county-owned ATV will not be permitted for the purpose of extra employment. (Exception: Extra employment directly related to and coordinated through the Parks Section involving events sanctioned or sponsored by a Harris County Commissioner’s office).

If an employee chooses to use his or her personal ATV for the purpose of extra employment, the ATV must be inspected by the Patrol ATV coordinator for compliance with the minimum required equipment listed in Patrol Bureau SOP #513, “All-Terrain Vehicles.”

The deputy must maintain and submit proof of all applicable training and current insurance documents to the Patrol ATV coordinator prior to the inspection.

All applicable uniform requirements found in Patrol Bureau SOP #513 will be followed.

Any extra employment application indicating the use of an ATV will be approved by the deputy’s immediate supervisor.

Extra Employment Complaints and Violations

Any extra-employment-related complaints received against employees or violations of this policy by any employees will be presented to that employee’s respective bureau commander. In accordance with HCSO Policy #231, “Internal Investigations,” the bureau commander shall confer with the Office of Inspector General (OIG) commander to determine if the incident rises to a bureau level investigation or an Internal Affairs investigation.

A case number shall be generated and issued by the OIG in reference to the complaint or violation.

Revision

This policy has been revised on the below listed dates:

April 21, 2009May 25, 2011June 30, 2015May 15, 2018
September 24, 2009June 27, 2012December 5, 2016 
November 20, 2009December 4, 2014March 21, 2018 
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