Rays' season bring off-duty jobs for officers - FOX 13 News

Rays' season bring off-duty jobs for officers

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

The looks on their faces may be all business, but on the inside, St. Petersburg police officers are cheering the start of another baseball season and rooting for a new stadium in St. Pete.

Dozens of them work extra hours "off duty" every game. A spokesman for their union said through the course of the season, an officer can add $10,000 to their regular pay, which averages around $40,000 per year.

"They rely heavily on that as supplemental income," Michael Krohn told FOX 13 News. "Especially in this day and age where officers aren't getting raises right now."

Krohn quickly adds the extra cash is a bump, not a bonus.

"The officer has to work a lot more too," he said. "They work a 10-hour shift and then have to go work a four or six hour event, so it's a really long day."

Frequently, only a few hours separates the off-duty work and the next regular shift. Combined with other obligations, some officers are able to work the Trop more than others.

Efficiencies have also eroded the opportunities.

"You learn a lot of tricks from 1998 forward," Mayor Bill Foster said. "You learn traffic patterns and fan habits, so yeah, you're able to better deploy your assets."

For example, years ago there were separate contingents of officers working on Trop property and off property, such as on traffic detail. Now, some of the officers working traffic as the crowds arrive move inside for most of the game, then back to their traffic posts late in the game to handle the exodus.

There are other off-duty jobs, such as concerts, night clubs and large house parties. But Krohn said nothing comes close to offering so many hours to so many officers as baseball.

And many are also Rays fans, so if the franchise chooses to leave St. Petersburg, they will have even more reasons to be unhappy.

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