Secondary employment

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This directive is for internal use only and does not enlarge an employee’s civil liability in any way. The directive should not be construed as creating a higher duty of care, in an evidentiary sense, with respect to third party civil claims against employees. Violations of this directive, if proven, can only form the basis of a complaint by the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office for non-judicial administrative action in accordance with the rules and laws governing employee discipline.
APPROVED BY: Sheriff Ken Christesen EFFECTIVE DATE: 9/4/2016
NMLEA STANDARDS: PER.04.01 - PER.04.02 LAST MODIFIED: 9/20/2017 LAST REVIEW: 9/12/2017


The purpose of this policy is to establish written guidelines governing employees engaging in secondary employment.


To ensure professional community service, it is the policy of the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office to regulate non-Sheriff’s Office employment to avoid conflicts in working hours; actual or perceived conflicts of interest; prevent reduced employee efficiency; and ensure compliance with the New Mexico Governmental Conduct Act.


The following definitions will apply for the purposes of this policy:

  • Employee – All certified and non-certified employees of the Sheriff’s Office.

  • Extra-Duty Employment – Any off-duty employment which amounts to, or has the potential of amounting to, the utilization of law enforcement authority. This includes, but is not limited to, employment where the actual use or anticipated use of law enforcement authority is likely or expected, and any employment involving the training or teaching of law enforcement tactics or operations to civilians. Extra-duty employment is prohibited by this policy.

  • Good Standing – Meeting all the basic requirements of the employee’s job duties, evaluated through formal job descriptions and performance evaluations; and maintaining acceptable availability for work.

  • Off-Duty – When an employee of the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office is not engaged in scheduled or assigned performance of their work for this agency. This includes non-duty hours, vacation leave, sick leave, and when on administrative leave or suspension.

  • Secondary Employment – Any off-duty employment where the use of law enforcement powers is not anticipated and compensation is received for a service provided.



The very nature of law enforcement and its duty to the public means that employment with the Sheriff’s Office takes precedence over any other employment.

In accordance with the San Juan County Employee Handbook, Section 5.7, employees may obtain secondary employment provided there is no conflict in working hours, the employee’s efficiency is not reduced, and the secondary employment does not cause a conflict of interest. If an employee's outside work interferes with the performance of their position with the Sheriff’s Office, the employee will be required to terminate the outside employment immediately. Secondary employment that constitutes a conflict of interest is prohibited. All secondary employment must be approved by the Sheriff or Undersheriff.

If an employee sustains an injury while working secondary employment, the injury must be documented in a memorandum and reported to their immediate Sheriff’s Office supervisor. This documentation will be forwarded up the chain of command to the Undersheriff. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the secondary employer, and not San Juan County, to provide workers’ compensation benefits for any injury sustained.

Any employee engaged in secondary employment is responsible for ensuring that all employment and business ventures are compliant with federal, state, and local laws, rules, and regulations regarding licensing, permitting, insurance, and taxes. Failure to comply with this provision may result in the revocation of authorization for secondary employment.


The Sheriff’s Office supports and values employees who are members of the National Guard and Reserve, and complies with all federal requirements set forth in the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).

To be eligible for secondary employment, an employee must be in good standing with the Sheriff’s Office. Continued approval of an employee’s secondary employment is contingent upon such good standing.

Aside from military guard and reserve duties, Sheriff’s Office employees are not eligible to engage in Secondary Employment until they have successfully completed their new employee trial period. This restriction does not include participation in overtime assignments.


No member of this agency will engage in secondary employment without obtaining prior written approval by the Sheriff or Undersheriff. Engaging in secondary employment without written approval is grounds for disciplinary action.

Employees seeking authorization to engage in secondary employment must submit a completed Secondary Employment Request to the Undersheriff. Each request will be reviewed and carefully considered on a case-by-case basis to ensure that such employment is in the best interest of the agency, employee, and service to the community.

Approval of secondary employment is only valid for the conditions (schedule, duties, etc.) declared by the employee on the request form. Changes from those initially declared will require an updated request and approval.

In the case of employees contracting odd jobs that are all of the same basic nature, blanket permission may be granted and the employee will not be required to submit a request for each separate job.

If a secondary employment request is approved, the employee will be notified and documentation of the approval will be maintained by the Executive Office Assistant. If denied, the reasons why it was denied will be provided to the employee.

As is required by the Governmental Conduct Act, any employee who engages in secondary employment must disclose, in writing, such employment. To satisfy this requirement, any Sheriff’s Office employee who requests secondary employment will also be required to complete the San Juan County Elected Official/Employee Disclosure form. This form is made readily available to all employees through the Sheriff’s Office and/or the San Juan County Human Resources Department. Secondary employment will not be approved unless this form has been completed and submitted with the Secondary Employment Request form.

Secondary employment approvals will expire on December 31st of the same year the approval is granted. Employees wishing to continue secondary employment after December 31st must submit a new request and the San Juan County Elected Official/Employee Disclosure form annually.


Work hours for secondary employment must be scheduled in a manner that does not conflict with an employee’s regular job duties (e.g., court, training, mandatory meetings, etc.). Special consideration will not be given to the scheduling of an employee’s regular assigned duty hours to accommodate secondary employment.

If an employee fails to work any amount of a scheduled shift or work assignment because of a personal sickness or illness, he or she may not engage in secondary employment for the remainder of that same calendar day. In the event an employee fails to work any amount of a scheduled shift or work assignment because of an immediate family member’s sickness or illness, secondary employment may be worked during that same day but requires notification to his or her immediate Sheriff’s Office supervisor.

Employees who are on light duty, extended medical or other leave due to sickness, temporary disability, or injuries are not eligible to engage in secondary employment if that employment hinders their recovery. Employees wishing to partake in secondary employment under these conditions are required to submit a memorandum to the Undersheriff with a detailed explanation of the secondary employment duties and must receive approval prior to engaging in the employment.

Because overly fatigued employees are more likely to put the community, themselves, and their fellow co-workers at risk, the Sheriff’s Office has a vested interest in ensuring that its employees are sufficiently alert to perform their duties in a safe and effective manner. To prevent the risks associated with fatigue, employees may not work more than 16 hours in any 24-hour period including all Sheriff’s Office duties and secondary employment duties. Unforeseen emergency situations would be an exception to this time restriction.

Many Sheriff’s Office employees are subject to being called out in the case of emergency situations or for an assignment. In the event this occurs, employees are required to leave their secondary employment and report for duty.


Sheriff’s Office employees are prohibited from engaging in secondary employment if such employment interferes with the performance of his or her position.

The following types of secondary employment are explicitly prohibited:

  • Employment that is performed during assigned hours of duty.

  • Employment which involves the teaching of law enforcement tactics to civilians.

  • Employment which involves the employee’s use of Sheriff’s Office or San Juan County resources, facilities, equipment or supplies; or the use of the Sheriff’s Office badge, uniform, prestige, or influence. This prohibition includes access to official records or databases of this agency or other agencies via the employee’s position within the agency.

  • Employment which involves the employee’s receipt or acceptance of any money or other compensation from anyone other than the Sheriff’s Office for the performance of an act that the employee would normally be required or expected to render in the regular course of their duties as a member of the Sheriff’s Office.

  • Employment that presents a potential conflict of interest; such as:

  • Employment in which law enforcement authority might be implied to collect money or merchandise for private purposes; e.g., repossession agent, process server, bill collector, bail bondsman, etc.

  • Investigations for the private sector, or any employment which may require access to police information files, records, or services as a condition of employment.

  • Private security, loss prevention, or any other employment in which the boundary between the role of law enforcement and security duties could be easily crossed.

  • Employment which assists, in any manner, the case preparation for the defense in any criminal proceeding or civil action against a government entity.

  • Employment which tarnishes the reputation of the Sheriff’s Office, such as:

  • Employment within an establishment which primarily sells pornographic books, magazines, sexual devices or videos, or that otherwise provides entertainment or services of a sexually oriented nature.

  • Employment within an establishment which sells open containers of alcoholic beverages as the principle business.

  • Employment within any establishment designated as a head shop, smoke shop, or other business which sells items related to the cannabis culture.

Sheriff’s Office employees who are attorneys will not participate in the legal defense of, or represent clients who are the target of criminal investigations, or involved in any criminal case.

The above list may not be inclusive of all prohibitions. The Sheriff or Undersheriff reserves the right to determine whether any secondary employment will be initially authorized or continue to be authorized.

All provisions and restrictions of this policy apply to employees who own or act as a silent partner in a business or company, regardless of a lack of active participation. However, an exception may be made for businesses operating outside the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Office. Such requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

To avoid a conflict of interest, a Sheriff’s Office supervisor is prohibited from working for a subordinate who owns or operates a business, regardless of who the subordinate reports to at the time of employment.

No part of this policy prohibits an employee from, at any time, taking legal and appropriate measures to prevent serious physical harm or the loss of life to themselves or another.


Secondary employment authorizations may be revoked if it is determined that the employment is not in the best interest of the Sheriff’s Office.

An employee’s primary responsibilities are the duties associated with their employment at the Sheriff’s Office. Because of this, authorization for secondary employment may be revoked if an employee’s performance declines to a point where it is considered as needing improvement to reach a minimum level of acceptable competency. This revocation may occur even when there is no causal link between the declining work performance and the secondary employment.

Any revocation will remain in effect until a minimum level of competency has been clearly re-established. At this time the employee will be required to resubmit a secondary employment request.


Due to the high probability of creating an actual or perceived conflict of interest, employees are prohibited from engaging in extra-duty employment. Community needs for services that would amount to extra-duty employment should be routed through either the Sheriff’s Office as a Special Security request or a private vendor.


In certain circumstances the Sheriff’s Office will charge a private entity for services and assign personnel to work these assignments. Employees working these assignments are paid by, and are working for the Sheriff’s Office. In these instances, employees will adhere to the guidelines set forth in the Sheriff’s Office Special Security Requests Policy.


As representatives of the Sheriff’s Office, the employment of reserve deputies and volunteers is a matter of interest. To protect the reputation of the agency, the status of any person who is employed by or owns a business or company which would be categorized as extra-duty employment or prohibited secondary employment, will be closely scrutinized when being considered for a volunteer position, to include reserve deputy.

On an annual basis, reserve deputies and volunteers will be required to disclose to the Undersheriff, in writing, any employment they hold while volunteering at the Sheriff’s Office. A current reserve deputy or volunteer who obtains employment of a prohibited nature is required to notify the Undersheriff in writing prior to beginning the employment. The status of any volunteer or reserve deputy may be revoked if employment is obtained that would jeopardize the Sheriff’s Office in any manner.


As a courtesy to employees, an agency wide notification will be made prior to December 31st of each year to ensure personnel have adequate time to renew their secondary employment requests.


Pursuant to the New Mexico Governmental Conduct Act, employees will be trained annually in the Governmental Conduct Act to include the act’s ethical principles. This training is conducted by the San Juan County Human Resources Department.


  1. Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA)
  2. San Juan County Elected Official/Employee Disclosure Form
  3. SJCSO Policy PERS-519: Light Duty
  4. San Juan County Employee Handbook – Section 5.7
  5. New Mexico Governmental Conduct Act [10-16-1 to 10-16-18 NMSA 1978]
  6. SJCSO Policy ADMN-116.00 “Special Security Requests”