San Jose explores issue of police officers moonlighting for 49ers

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As the NFL takes domestic violence and sexual assault cases more seriously, law enforcement authorities necessarily will acquire far greater influence over a player’s status.  With the league now willing to suspend players with pay pending the resolution of charges, a decision to aggressively pursue charges — regardless of the quality of evidence — could significantly disrupt a player’s career.

Conversely, a friendly presence in the local police force could help keep a player on the field.

The 49ers have a friendly presence in the San Jose police force.  So friendly that, according to Robert Salonga of the San Jose Mercury News, Sgt. Sean Pritchard and others worked for the 49ers on the side.  So friendly that, when an incident happened between 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald and his fiancée on August 31, Pritchard was on the scene when police arrived — even though Pritchard was off duty at the time.

As it turns out, nearly 20 San Jose police officers moonlight for the team, providing security at games and for individuals.  Which gives rise to an obvious conflict of interest when it comes to investigations that could impact the franchise by, for example, sidelining a key player who is accused of wrongdoing.

“If we find out something during the course of the investigation, there may come a time when we don’t allow officers to work for the 49ers organization,” Assistant Police Chief Eddie Garcia told Salonga.

For now, Pritchard has been barred from working for the 49ers, while the department’s Internal Affairs division is investigating Pritchard’s connection to the 49ers and his role in the response to the McDonald incident.

“We suspended [Pritchard] working for that company because of that [public] trust,” Garcia said.  “We hold all our officers to a very high standard.  We’re getting all the facts as to why that individual officer was there. I certainly feel and have the utmost confidence that we would be able to investigate any situation without there being a conflict of interest.”

The best way to do that would be to tell the officers that they can’t work for the 49ers or anyone else whose employees may from time to time be scrutinized by the San Jose Police Department.  At a certain level, that’s surely why the 49ers and other sports teams use off-duty cops for security; when the time comes to exercise discretion in a way that could help or hurt the team, the separate connection becomes an obvious factor.

Which could help explain why McDonald hasn’t been officially charged with assault — which in turn has allowed him to keep playing.

44 responses to “San Jose explores issue of police officers moonlighting for 49ers

  1. With the attacks that have happened over the last several years at California professional sporting events, it appears they need more uniformed police.

    Moonlighting police happen in most areas. The key is a very strict set of policies and procedures that have real consequence. Bullet Point 1… Don’t show up at an investigation when you are off duty.

  2. Maybe have some of them ‘moonlight’ in the washrooms where people are getting knocked out!

  3. “The best way to do that would be to tell the officers that they can’t work for the 49ers or anyone else whose employees may from time to time be scrutinized by the San Jose Police Department”

    Some of the biggest corporations in the world are located in San Jose. Following your suggestion the cops couldn’t moonlight for any of them.

    I wonder if the cop stationed at our high school develops relationships with teachers, coaches and administrators that make it hard later when they pull one of them over for speeding.

    Not an easy subject. Good leadership, training and expectations will go farther than a bunch of new rules.

  4. We’re supposed to be…shocked? surprised? Ok…

    I’m shocked and surprised…that they didn’t do a better job covering up this obvious issue.

  5. I’ve never understood why there isn’t security in the bathooms or the parking lots before, during, and after games. Makes no sense to me at all. It’s dark after some of the games now, the fans have been drinking for hours, their team either won or lost…..sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

  6. What a coincidence! Now I see why Harbaugh says that they’ll let due process play out. With corrupt cops like that, Ray McDonald May never get charged!

    #abovereproach

  7. Wow. You would think rules already existed to prevent this kind of huge conflict of interest.

  8. bigredjbird says:
    Oct 7, 2014 8:55 AM
    Wow. You would think rules already existed to prevent this kind of huge conflict of interest.

    ——————————–

    You ever see a cop working at McDonalds on Friday and Saturday night? Its the same thing only less glamorous.

    Business hired law enforcement to help with security. Happens all the time.

  9. Seems a bit cynical to conclude that the 49ers hire cops so that they will go easy on their players. It’s more likely that the 49ers hire real cops for security because they are better trained and more experienced than Acme Security Services. My guess is that there are 31 other NFL teams that do the same thing.

  10. I assumed this meant they would be protecting the fans at their games. Looks like a drunk MMA fight breaks out at every game 49ers fans are at.

  11. At a certain level, that’s surely why the 49ers and other sports teams use off-duty cops for security; when the time comes to exercise discretion in a way that could help or hurt the team, the separate connection becomes an obvious factor.

    _________________________________

    Who else are they going to hire for this part time job? Software designers? Baristas?

  12. Let’s pretend you’re at a night club at 1 am. A fight breaks out. Somebody pulls out a weapon. An off duty cop that was working the front door steps forward and disarms that person and prevents anyone from being injured. I bet you don’t cry “conflict of interest” when you get to go home safely that night.

  13. has SanFran not routinely proven that they have the biggest group of aggressive and disorderly fans in the NFL??

    I guess they are trying to break the anti-tough stigma of SanFrancisco..
    Haven’t there been two deaths related to the negative activities of this fan base??

    the NFL NEEDS to take notice and make some power moves to regulate this group of degenerates.

  14. I know a couple of NFL players (2 former, 1 current) None of whom are on the 49ers(although one did a short stint on their practice squad) and according to them, it is common practice to higher off duty police officers as security. This is not something that is unique to the 49ers.

  15. Fan safety should be #1, with all these issues in California at sporting events over the past couple years it would be best for business for the NFL to stay away until they can protect the California fans they do have. Why would we need another stadium where opposing fans can’t go?

  16. Being as most men are football fans and said cops get paid by the 49ers there is definitely a conflict of interest. One needs to look no further than a Sargent who is off duty is on the scene. You would have to believe McDonald or someone close to him had called looking for preferential treatment.

  17. In My World,

    Our employer discourages anyone taking a second job. They pay well and our owner expects you give 100% of your mental and physical ability to your job.

    I’ll assume that San Jose cops make a decent wage + benefits. Other than greed, why do they need a side job ? I live in an NFL city. The team pays the city and county for the use of uniformed officers on game day and whenever there’s a need. I think a lot of the reasoning a cop takes a 2nd job with an NFL team is ego related.

  18. “The best way to do that would be to tell the officers that they can’t work for the 49ers or anyone else whose employees may from time to time be scrutinized by the San Jose Police Department. ”

    So, cops cannot moonlight at all? EVERY company may from time to time have employees scrutinized.

    So what we have in this story is no actual evidence of wrongdoing, but strong innuendo that somehow this officer kept charges from being filed.

  19. Levi’s FC has mercenary cops working for them?
    When it comes to gray area – The Harbaugh is always on the controversial side.

    A once proud organizatio…..well actually they’ve been lead by law repellent scumbags forever.

  20. So, what does it tell you about the constitution of your team when it is so dysfunctional that you have to hire the police to protect them from themselves? Get into trouble??? Call “the cleaner.”

    I have an alternative: don’t draft, trade for, or sign trash. As a Bengals fan, I know first hand the perils of having your team sacrificing integrity for talent, and it ALWAYS come back to haunt you.

  21. The trolls are out in full force because OBVIOUSLY on the 49ERS would EVER have trained law enforcement officers to handle security for them. What an IDIOTIC IDEA. What troubles me is the fact that these guys could very well make a judgment call between their wallets and doing what’s right. There is a very easy solution here……. The 49ers or other organizations and/or companies pay the police department and/or city and/or state themselves and let them assign officers as a part of a regular work detail.

  22. “The best way to do that would be to tell the officers that they can’t work for the 49ers or anyone else whose employees may from time to time be scrutinized by the San Jose Police Department.”

    Since anyone could come under the “scrutiny” of the police department at any time you’re effectively saying they can never work for anyone but the PD.

  23. Boy do the trolls come out when the opportunity to bash a police officer is presented.

    The local DA’s office has jurisdiction on whether to prosecute this matter or not.

    As of this hit piece, they’ve decided not to proceed.

    If anyone thinks any monkey business was pulled on this case, you’re just exposing your total ignorance and bias.

    Al the officers involved that night knew a domestic involving a high profile person (McDonald) is going to bring all kinds of extra scrutiny. Everybody up the chain of command is going to want to know what went on, and how it was handled. Plus everyone at the McDonald’s on the night in question knew the media was going to be all over this situation, so I can assure you that this call was handled correctly.

    Every NFL team has a law enforcement liaison. Its smart business, and would be stupid not to do so, however, I’m sure the Sgt in question would certainly like a do over as far a responding personally to the scene. Bad move.

  24. I’ve no problem w/ police moonlighting in this capacity regardless of the team. I do find it disturbing though that this guy showed up ‘off duty & before the police arrived’ at the McDonald incident. Just saying…

  25. Respect the hustle. Not fond of cops but if presented the opportunity, we would all take that side gig.

  26. So does the DA’s office work for the whiners too?

    Still waiting for the prosecutions for the smashing-bottle-over-teammates’-head incident and the firing-an-automatic-weapon-in-the-air-to-chill-out-gang-members incident, and the pulling an illegal weapon out when road-raging a bicylist thing….. help me out here, I’m sure I’m missing a couple.

    So then, it’s still technically accurate that the 9er’s are “above reproach”, since they’ve clearly bought off those authorities who would be doing the reproaching.

  27. As a retired cop who chose not to work off duty football games, due to unruly drunkards, it’s common knowledge that cops work off duty for all pro and collegiate sporting events. Since the pay is the same I chose to work less volatile events for why deal with drunks if you don’t have to.

    What’s unheard of, is an off-duty Sergeant, read Supervisor, being called by a player as he’s about to be investigated by the PD.

    Any Internal Investigation knows going in, that it’s a no-no for an off duty Sergeant, employed by a team, to arrive on scene in anticipation of responding officers. That Sergeant knows better.

    Obviously this recent reporting clears up the question about what is taking the Prosecutor so long to file charges against McDonald.

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