About 4,000 District of Columbia police officers will be eligible to start part-time work Nov. 12 as security guards in private businesses under guidelines completed yesterday by D.C. Police Chief Maurice T. Turner and expected to be issued today.
The guidelines were designed to implement a law passed last June that was aimed at helping to curb crime in the city by posting more armed and uniformed officers in public places.
However, the law has been opposed by representatives of several of the 205 Washington security guard agencies and by a group representing about 70 D.C. police officers.
One of the complaints raised by these groups is that many security guards would be unable to compete for such jobs with police officers and would lose jobs or job opportunities.
The groups have also contended that under the new law the police department would be subject to charges of conflict of interest, because while it is required to regulate security agencies its officers would compete for work with the very agencies it is regulating.
In an interview, and in his guidelines, which are to be distributed to the force today and to go into effect seven days later, Turner expressed his concern with avoiding possible conflicts of interest between the officers' public responsiblilities and private activities.
Issued as a general order to the police department, the guidelines prohibit officers on duty from recommending to citizens or businessmen the private security agencies for which they or other officers work.
"I'm trying to prevent any police officer from abusing his authority," Turner said, and asserted that he intends to prevent officers from acting in their official capacities to generate work in private capacities.
"I'm trying to keep the integrity of this department up," Turner said.
Efforts to delay implementation of the law have been made by the D.C. Security Association, which represents about eight of the 205 licensed security guard agencies in the city, and by the 70-member Afro-American Police Association.
Representatives of the groups, Ronald Hampton of the police association, and attorneys Geraldine Gennet and Bert Foer of the security association met last week with representatives of the city administrator's office in an effort to delay implementation of the law pending review and amendment by the City Council.
Gennet said at the time that the association was formed in recent weeks specifically to represent smaller security agencies that feared the law would drive them out of business. Representatives of the groups could not be immediately reached last night for comment.
In a recent interview, Turner said he did not believe the measure would cost the jobs of private security guards. He said that had not happened in suburban jurisdictions where police are permitted to moonlight as guards.
He also implied that private security agencies and their employes might offer financial advantages, suggesting that police officers would demand a higher wage than present employes of private firms.
Critics of the law have suggested that as many 2,000 officers might participate under the regulations, which permit up to 24 hours of part time work for police of the rank of captain and below. Turner, however, said he expected the figure would be far less.
He praised the law and said he expected the greater presence of uniformed officers in the city would serve as a deterrent to crime.