Knowledgebase-Prohibiting a Police Officer from Moonlighting as a Security Guard

Information Product

Title:Prohibiting a Police Officer from Moonlighting as a Security Guard
Summary:MTAS was asked whether the Police Department Manual prohibits a police officer from moonlighting as a security guard at the Community College.
Original Author:Hemsley, Sid
Product Create Date:03/01/93
Last Reviewed on::01/03/2017
Subject:Personnel--Laws and regulations; Police--Personnel
Type:Legal Opinion
Legal Opinion:

Reference Documents:

Text of Document: March 1, 1993

Your question is, does Section 11.02.E of the Police Department Manual prohibit a police officer from moonlighting as a security guard at the Community College? The answer is yes.

Chapter 11 of the Police Department Manual governs moonlighting by police officers. Some kinds of moonlighting may be permitted under Section 11.02.B, subject to the approval of the police chief and the mayor. But a certain class of moonlighting is entirely prohibited under Section 11.02.E: "Any outside employment in a law enforcement capacity (i.e. private investigator, security guard, part-time patrolman with another dept., etc.) is prohibited." [Emphasis is mine.] Such employment isn't even subject to being approved by the chief of police and mayor under Section 11.02.B.

Let me point out here that the question of whether municipalities can prohibit or limit moonlighting by police officers and firemen has frequently been litigated in the United States (but not in Tennessee as far as I can determine). The weight of authority is that such prohibitions or limitations are legal if they are reasonable. Several of the cases in this area involve the specific question of whether it is legal for municipalities to entirely prohibit police officers from moonlighting in other law enforcement capacities, including security guard. The overwhelming weight of authority in these specific cases is that such prohibitions are legal. [See 94 A.L.R.3d 1230].


Sidney D. Hemsley
Senior Law Consultant

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