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Local officers assisting Exxon while off duty

Posted: April 9, 2013 - 9:06pm
ERIC WHITE STAFF PHOTO    An area law enforcement vehicle is shown at the scene of the Mayflower oil spill.
ERIC WHITE STAFF PHOTO An area law enforcement vehicle is shown at the scene of the Mayflower oil spill.

At least 19 local law enforcement officers are making extra money by working off duty, in uniform as security guards, in part for ExxonMobil Corp., local officials said.

Those local police and deputies work as security for the governments and oil giant charged with cleaning up an oil spill that dumped about 5,000 barrels of oil crude oil into a Mayflower subdivision and nearby marsh areas.

Faulkner County sheriff deputies work four shifts at about four officers per shift for $35 an hour, Sheriff Andy Shock said. Three to four officers from the Mayflower Police Department do the same work, Police Chief Bob Satkowski said.

Conway police are not working as security guards, spokeswoman La Tresha Woodruff said in email.

Satkowski said Exxon required officers to wear their uniforms. Exxon spokeswoman Kim Jordan said in email that “our understanding is whether an officer wears the uniform is up to the individual.”

In email, Jordan said: “Deputies are required on site to secure homes in the area and ensure public safety.”

Officers are allowed to wear their uniforms, even when off duty and working for a private company, if their department OKs it, said Ronnie Baldwin, executive director of the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association.

The only stated rule is officers can’t work a second job while on duty, Baldwin said. Shock said his deputies can wear their uniforms. He said his deputies provide security services, direct traffic and divert people.

Shock said people had been emailing him, concerned about his deputies working. Off-duty officers working second jobs remain law enforcement. “I read today that the sheriff’s department has been purchased by Exxon,” Jim Howerton wrote April 8 in email to Shock. “Is that actually true?”

The email didn’t say where Howerton is located, and many of the emails are from out-of-state residents.

County Judge Allen Dodson said Exxon is not “running the show.”

The state, federal and county government are working with Exxon to clean up the spill. Exxon is financially responsible, Dodson said.

Local law enforcement officials were chosen first because Mayflower is impacted by the oil spill, Dodson said. Deputies and policemen have an opportunity to work and help their own communities, he said. Local officers also have knowledge of the local people and places, Dodson said.

The fact that officers are wearing uniforms is not atypical from other events across the country, Dodson said.

“I feel like these officers have a real conflict of interest,” said Mickey H. Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association. Police and deputies working off-duty shouldn’t just do everything Exxon says to do, he said.

Shock said officers are watching everyone’s property, not just Exxon’s.

“They are providing a valuable service, not only to Exxon, but to the citizens of Mayflower and Faulkner County by doing this,” Shock said.

(Staff writer Scarlet Sims can be reached by email at scarlet.sims@thecabin.net. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)

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justoffcenter
897
Points
justoffcenter 04/10/13 - 02:25 pm
5
2
Beats what you guys pay

$35 an hour beats what the citizens of Faulkner County pay the very same Officers and Deputies. Don't be a hater, it is extra pay for a bunch of under paid and over worked, dedicated LEO's. Mayflower will be back to business as usual in a few weeks, with plenty of fresh green dollar bills to show around.

mikeng1994
0
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mikeng1994 04/10/13 - 07:49 pm
3
0
Maybe you should ask the

Maybe you should ask the people of Prince William Sound if they think this spill is humongous. I'm not saying it isn't bad, it is bad, lets just keep things in perspective.

justoffcenter
897
Points
justoffcenter 04/11/13 - 09:16 am
2
5
Nope, hardly a disaster at all

"This is a humongous environmental disaster. It'll never be the same as before no matter how many paper towels exxon uses."

Nope, looking at some real disasters from the past, this one is small. 14 ducks, a snake, and a coon, most of these would have been hit in the head with a boat paddle if you were fishing and they got in the boat with you. Some new dirt and sod (and a few million Exxon dollars) Mayflower is better than ever.

Panic on trusted citizen.

conwaygerl
6672
Points
conwaygerl 04/11/13 - 09:19 am
5
0
no disaster

Until it reaches Lake Conway, I've read reports that last night's storm unbarricaded the culverts leading to the lake. That might be of concern.

sonicstring
1023
Points
sonicstring 04/12/13 - 11:31 am
1
4
and pray tell

Where did you read those "reports" ? Facebook World and news reports ? How often have you driven through these areas lately ? Not all of them are barricaded and guarded you know.. It might help some of your fears if you actually came down and looked over the area you speak of.

odoketa
394
Points
odoketa 04/09/13 - 11:50 pm
13
4
serious problem

I was fine with this right up until the part where private citizens, working for a private corporation, are dressed in uniforms which suggest they are enforcing the law. If they are acting in an official capacity, they should wear the uniform. If they are not, they should not. If you tell me to leave somewhere, or not take photos, and you are in uniform, I am going to assume you are acting as an officer of the law, not as an employee of a corporation. This is a bad decision, on the part of both Sheriff Shock and the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association, for everyone involved.

justoffcenter
897
Points
justoffcenter 04/10/13 - 02:28 pm
5
4
Not private citizens

They are LEO's, read the story. They are never private citizens when they become Officers and Deputies.

Miss Sintax
472
Points
Miss Sintax 04/10/13 - 05:42 am
8
3
So, County Judge Allen Dodson

So, County Judge Allen Dodson said Exxon is not “running the show.” ?????

So is Dodson being disingenuous or does he actually believe that? Because Exxon is running the show and it's people like Dodson who make it even more evident that Exxon has total control. At $35/hr you better believe they are running the show in spite of what anyone else says.

crypted quill
11201
Points
crypted quill 04/10/13 - 06:01 am
7
2
Welcome to our

Welcome to our Corporatocracy.

Johnny Law, we hardly knew ye.

Infamous Mayflower, Exxon's ashtray.

Oilman
771
Points
Oilman 04/11/13 - 01:50 pm
5
2
Call it like IT IS...

This was nothing more than a slush fund for the Deputies. Exxon/Mobil doesn't even pay their own employees with degrees that monitor that oil line and work for them $35hr or people cleaning up the oil. They could have hired security guards for $8-10hr but our new Sheriff will justify what he wants, how he wants conflict or not.

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