Change overdue on NPD policy

Published 12:01 am Sunday, October 1, 2017

The City of Natchez recently changed its policy regarding part-time work by Natchez police officers. The change was long overdue.

Prior to the new policy, police officers were allowed to work side jobs in nightclubs and other establishments to earn a little extra money.

In addition, those officers were allowed to wear their Natchez Police Department uniforms and other city gear in that role.

Email newsletter signup

When new Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong learned of the longtime practice he quickly worked to change it. In doing so, Armstrong sought the help of city aldermen in changing the lax rules.

Aldermen followed Armstrong’s advice and prohibited police officers from working side jobs in their city uniforms, but also took the matter a step further and prohibited city officers from taking jobs in nightclubs in bars at all.

That may seem severe, but having officers working in bars would seem to have multiple potential problems.

The city is worried about the potential liability if a uniformed officer does something out of line, but not while on the city clock.

Beyond that, simply having officers be on the payroll of a private company seems to create a high probability of a conflict of interest. That would particularly be the case when an officer has a high likelihood of being called to the same business in an official capacity.

Bar owners are understandably frustrated by the change as they now must locate or train another security force to help them.

The group along with a police organization has taken the city to court over the matter. Of course the city could potentially solve much of this problem by simply paying officers better wages in the first place so the need for a second job would be lessened.