My sheriff wants to know if he can be paid to work security at a festival this weekend. I know that the off-duty deputies, etc. can take extra jobs but, can the sheriff himself take a side job working security? Apparently the festival organizers are expecting a huge crowd and have approached just about every peace officer in the county to help with security.
I cannot locate any "professional sheriffs act," comparable to the professional prosecutors act, which swaps a state supplement for the right to moonlight. More directly, I find no constitutional or statutory prohibition against a sheriff performing outside security work. Use of county resources to perform that outside security work, however, might have dire consequences. See State ex rel. Hightower v. Smith, 671 S.W.2d 32, 34 (Tex. 1984) (finding sheriff was properly removed from office for using county vehicles and equipment to perform repeated security checks at complex where sheriff had apartment). Aside from that concern, however, I might ask whether deputies are permitted to perform security work for private entitites. This question is pertinent, since section 85.003(e) of the Local Government Code provides that a deputy may perform the acts and duties of the deputy's principal. Thus, a deputy's authority is no more expansive than that of the sheriff under whom the deputy serves. The converse would also be true. If a sheriff is unauthorized to perform a certain act, so, too is his/her deputy. If the sheriff cannot perform outside security work, then, it would seem to follow logically that the sheriff's deputies could not do so, either.
Posts: 1233 | Location: Amarillo, Texas, USA | Registered: March 15, 2001
Depends on whether he is working in the same geographic area that includes part of his precinct or his county. There are number of court cases and attorney general opinions on various conflict issues that arise from being elected/appointed as well as also employed by two different governmental bodies where there may be some overlap in jursidictional areas in terms of duties or geography. Over the years, the trend appears to have become more favorable towards permitting the holding of second governmental positions.
HOWEVER, I always hesitaite to tell anyone, no matter how clear the law, that it is safe to have a second job, especially with the same or another governmental body, because:
MOST IMPORTANTLY---No elected should ever take a second job without very detailed, fact specific, and careful research of the law in this area. The reason: In some cases, the employment in the second position is considered an automatic and irrevocable resignation from the first position as of the date of employment in the second position.
Even the argument of "I did not know,... I did not intend..... my lawyer said it was ok..... it was all an innocent mistake..." is not gonna save the first job.
Seems to me there has been previous discussion at the AG about how a sheriff is never truly �off duty� and therefore, taking compensation to work off duty would be trouble on many fronts such as taking outside compensation to perform public duties, sovereign function, etc. The clearest example that pops into my head is sheriff contracts to provide himself as security at festival and all are having a lovely time. Then all hell breaks loose ten miles away on the interstate. Where should the sheriff be- on the interstate where he�s needed or at the festival where he�s being paid to be?
Sorry I don't have any cites handy but if it helps I think the opinions had to do with apartments.