Owner of Seattle’s Finest speaks out amid off-duty controversy
The co-owner of a Seattle business that provides law enforcement officers with off-duty jobs says the allegations of strong-arm tactics being used to secure work is not linked to his company.
KIRO Radio’s Mike Lewis originally reported that Seattle officers became the focus of an investigation by the Office of Police Accountability and the FBI, after local businesses complained they were being pressured to hire off-duty officers. In a memo that is central to the investigation, one officer allegedly bragged about a “mini mafia.”
The investigation, Lewis previously reported, is centered around off-duty work primarily handled through staffing companies such as Seattle’s Finest Security & Traffic Control and Seattle Security INC. The Seattle Times reported this week that City Light has paid Seattle’s Finest more than $7.8 million over five years for off-duty work.
Raleigh Evans, a former Seattle officer who formed Seattle’s Finest in 2002, says if the allegations are true, the FBI and police department, “not only have a duty, but obligation to investigate and deal with it appropriately.” However, he says the allegations are against specific officers, not against the companies as a whole. He says rates are negotiated with customers and officers are paid slightly more than what they would be on the job.
If there are people using strong-arm tactics to secure work and conducting their own negotiations, “they aren’t doing it while working for us,” Evans added.
The Times reported that Seattle’s Finest has been the only company to land off-duty work with Seattle City Light since 2012. A spokesperson for City Light “could not explain” why the utility has only used Seattle’s Finest for years.
How much is the company earning?
After a bit of nudging, Evans told Dori Monson officers make a base of $62 an hour through his company. He said from past experience, officers who have been with the department between 25 to 30 years are making $46 to $51 an hour.
However, he would not provide further details, arguing that it would be “dangerous” for him to do so from a business standpoint. He operates a private company that is competing with another private company.
Evans did say City Light has had the same rate for about three years.
But from a taxpayer standpoint, Evans can understand why people would want to know more, right?
“I don’t think, as a company, that it’s wise for us to put that information out for everyone to know,” Evans said.
Listen to the entire interview with Evans here.