No, it is NOT (I thought everyone knew the answer to that one).
If, as a regular citizen, you buy yourself a Pittsburgh Police uniform and badge, you too might be ABLE to flag down speeding cars on I79 or Liberty Ave and get the drivers to pay you their "fine" in cash - and you "won't give out a ticket, this time" .. but this activity on your part is NOT legal .. you are "impersonating a public servant," goes the Law... and when caught, you go to jail. BUT when some citizens of Pittsburgh dress up in a police uniform, and go around the city acting as if they were on duty police officers, THEY can earn $30 to $60 dollars an hour - and get away with it ... wondering who these elite citizens are?? Read on!
First, let's look at this principal more closely .. PUBLIC servants and PUBLIC property are forbidden by law and practice from being used for PRIVATE profit. This means that if you are in coveralls and working for the Pittsburgh Public Works Department, it is illegal (and immoral) for you to contract your off-duty time to use your Public Works backhoe and truck (and some of that unused asphalt from yesterday's pour) to fix up a private driveway. Everybody knows this is wrong, right??
Pittsburgh officials are so sensitive to perceived official misrepresentation, that I understand that uniformed and badged Public Crossing Guards BY CITY DIRECTIVE must be out of their uniforms within (20 - 30 min?) a very short time after their shift, and back into civilian garb. Stay tuned, because one of the city unions have managed to cut a way better deal for THEIR members .. sure, it's ILLEGAL, but who will dare to challenge them, they think?
Can anyone imagine the uproar if one of the City's bus drivers was given permission from his/her supervisors to come in after hours, IN UNIFORM, and take a city owned bus full of city-paid fuel out for the week-end, so the driver could sell tickets on his own, for cash in his own pocket, to take a busload of citizens to Atlantic City for the weekend?
Even the Mayor's own secretary would be fired, if it came to pubic light that he/she had used city owned copiers, stamps and envelopes to mail out hundreds or thousands of personal "Amway" solicitations, right?
In Pittsburgh, there are only two elite gangs that have managed to hold themselves above the law, when it comes to impersonating a public servant for private fun and profit ... and these gangs have netted TENS if not HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of illegal dollars impersonating on-public-duty police officers. One last guess at who these criminals are, before I tell you??
Off-Duty Pittsburgh police officers and Sheriff Deputies have somehow gotten away with forming marauding gangs of off-duty (or sometimes retired) officers, who punch out at the department after 8 hrs, and instead of going home to their families or on to a legitimate second job, they stay dressed in their public uniform, keep on their public issued guns and badges, and in some cases keep their police marked vehicle filled with public paid gasoline, and insured by the City .. Thus publicly outfitted, they go to a second "job" (demanding cash with no records kept in some cases) from the very merchants who are "under their official thumb" during their public shift.
Those so called "off-duty" officers who offer (or demand?) to CONTRACT their (official?)services to private employers for undocumented cash or even legitimate (from the employer's standpoint) checks, are by definition of law"CRIMINALS", who are appearing in public uniform with the clear intent to confuse the fact that they are NOT on official police business - as a matter of fact, the last thing these criminal opportunists would want, would be for the average citizen who runs into them during this illegal work to know that they were not "official," but were actually working as an agent of a private business owner illegally. Remember, LEGALLY and MORALLY, no public servant can provide public services for private interests .. the days of the strike-breaking Pinkerton's are over!
So, after reading the above, can anyone tell the legal or moral difference between a public works backhoe driver contracting to do "his" driveway construction work "after hours" for cash under the table .. the City bus driver doing "his" job of driving citizens somewhere for private profit .. and a off duty Pittsburgh policeman doing uniformed/armed police security work at a downtown "titty bar" or club, for cash on the barrel head (or even a check)?
If someone can make a positive case for these officers illegal actions, I would love for you to post them here. Please remember though, that while the bus driver and backhoe driver have GENERAL legal prohibitions against doing the work as posited, Pennsylvania law enforcement officers have SPECIFIC legal restrictions placed on them, that directly prohibits them from contracting after hours to do ANY kind of security work without first obtaining a license (for which they are prohibited from getting). I will post these Penna laws in a future blog entry, meanwhile, why not call the police department or atty general's office yourself, and ask them why Pittsburgh police are allowed to violate state law for private profit?
Where has the local media been while this illegal police protection racked has grown?
Where are they now?