The Denver Police Department's control of off-duty work has improved since 2008, when city auditors blasted it for loose oversight of officers who moonlight as security guards.
But the department still lets officers receive cash payments and solicit their own "secondary employment" opportunities against the Justice Department's best practices, according to a report released Thursday by Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher.
"The current audit scope identified no sustained incidents or evidence of corruption," the report says, but police brass should review those policies and consider imposing a uniform off-duty pay scale to minimize risk.
The department has better control over scheduling with the help of a computerized time-tracking program, but it doesn't track payments made directly to officers. Officers in charge of "scheduling" off-duty work negotiate contract rates and payments.
That was a source of contention after the 2008 audit, which found that officers were recorded working secondary employment when they were off duty because of an an illness, in violation of department policy. Officers who no longer worked for the department were clocked as working off-duty jobs that year, and the auditor said police officials lacked the tools to manage officers' time and related costs.
"I want to commend ... DPD for the improvements we found in the off-duty program," Gallagher wrote. "The controls around the program are much tighter."
The approximately 1,110 officers who work off-duty posts earn about $10.6 million each year, the auditors estimated. They are a benefit particularly in areas such as LoDo on the weekends or at sporting events.
Among other recommendations, Gallagher said the department should use the automated program to see whether officers are complying with policies that prevent them from working more than 16 hours in a 24-hour period.
Chief Robert White told an audit committee there are few abuses of the system because officers who do abuse the system could be barred from taking future side jobs.
"The consequences are very grave from their standpoint," he said.