Should off-duty officers work security at pot shops?

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by NATALIE SWABY / KING 5 NEWS

Bio | Email | Follow: @NSwabyKing5

KING5.com

Posted on January 15, 2014 at 11:18 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 16 at 7:33 AM

SEATTLE - As Washington prepares to tackle new territory with recreational pot stores, law enforcement agencies take on new questions about what is appropriate for their officers. One issue is whether or not off-duty officers will be allowed to work on-site security at marijuana businesses.

King County Sheriff John Urquhart supported making marijuana legal, but even before the state's first retail pot shops open he is saying "no" to deputies providing security.

"Part of my decision making process was this is still against federal law, and even though it is legal in the state of Washington and the voters have said they want it legal, I really don't want my deputies working in that kind of a store," said Sheriff Urquhart.

Everett's police spokesperson, Officer Aaron Snell, said, "we would decline off-duty requests at these locations."  Snell added that the federal law is why the department would say no.

Olympia police also cited the federal law as the reason why officers will not be able to work security at marijuana businesses, according to spokesperson Laura Wohl.

Officer Loretta Cool with Tacoma police said for their agency there is nothing that specifically prohibits off-duty officers from working pot shop security. However, before an officer can take any off-duty job, the request must be vetted and approved by department supervisors.

Seattle police said they do not have a policy about off-duty work at marijuana businesses yet. The city attorney's office added that at this point the issue has not been researched by the legal department.

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