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32 on-duty Pittsburgh officers forced to work Beyonce’s concert after shortage of volunteers

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The Pittsburgh Police union will be filing grievances after learning some on-duty officers were forced to work traffic duty on overtime for a Beyoncé concert.

The police union claims that due to a shortage of officers volunteering for the event, over 32 officers were forced to work the event against their will.  Of the 32 officers, 13 were pulled from different zones and 19 were either kept late or called in early.  Additionally, they weren’t given extra event pay for the concert.

In comparison, 40 officers volunteered to work a recent Penguins game.  They were paid ‘Holiday pay’ at a rate of $75 per hour, which was paid for by the Penguins, According to WTAE.

Fraternal Order of Police president Bob Swartzwalder said that forcing the officers to work the concert was a violation of their contract, according to WPXI,

“This is strictly an issue of secondary employment and the officers’ right to choose what type of secondary employment they engage in,” he said.

This isn’t the first time Beyonce has had issues with officers working her concerts.  Departments in Florida and elsewhere have had difficulty getting officers to voluntarily sign up for the extra duty due to Beyonce’s anti-cop lyrics and imagery in her ‘Formation’ music video and her widely criticized performance during February’s Super Bowl.

Images from Beyonce's 'Formation' music video.
Images from Beyonce’s ‘Formation’ music video.

In a recent interview with Fox Business, famed Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke said that Beyoncé depends on police, whether she likes them or not.

“How ironic that a cop-hating performer realizes she needs the American law enforcement officer to pull off her concert. It’s definitely a ‘can’t live with the police, can’t live without them’ moment for Beyoncé,” said Clarke. “I don’t blame Pittsburgh’s finest for not volunteering for this assignment. Of course, if they are ordered to do it, these officers will do what they are told to do, but at the same time I’m glad to see that they have enough morals to not even add time-and-a-half to not even volunteer for something like this.”

Back in Pittsburgh, Police Chief Cameron released the following statement yesterday afternoon:

“Large public events have a significant impact on the surrounding communities with respect to traffic flow, congestion and potential quality of life disorder stemming from larger numbers of people visiting the area.

“From a Homeland security standpoint, such events require extra police protection from the potential for far more serious safety threats as well. Police have the responsibility to preserve the quality of life for the communities we police, as well as the safety and security of those coming here to visit.

“The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police remains fully committed to providing the highest quality of service to our residents and guests. We have taken great pains to ensure our staffing decisions are within the confines of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Any questions about contractual issues for staffing and scheduling will be fully vetted in the appropriate legal venues.”

The police union has previously filed grievances concerning officers being forced to work the Pittsburgh Marathon and have every intent on filing over the Beyoncé concert.

“If they have a complaint, they can obviously file it, but we feel we are working within the rules of the collective bargaining agreement and will continue to do so,” Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said.
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