While working as a firefighter for nearly 20 years, Luke Guthrie would often find himself getting off his shift alongside officers from the police and sheriff’s departments—and hear officers talk about heading off to their second jobs.
That led him down the path of researching moonlighting—off-duty work that many officers perform to supplement their pay—and finding some of the inconsistencies departments use to track the work officers take.
To address those and to help departments recover the costs of assets used during moonlighting work, Guthrie and fellow co-founder Augustus Hellwich launched Illuno, a Plano-based staffing and scheduling platform that Guthrie describes as an “officer on-demand system.”
“I said, ‘What if we can create a software…that can actually coordinate, organize, limit the risk and liability, and increase transparency to give police departments a software where it’s very streamlined and systematic?’” said Guthrie, who serves as president of Illuno.
Mark Cuban invests
As the company looks to build out its platform and continue to onboard officers, Illuno has already attracted the attention of backers like the Mark Cuban Companies.
Illuno’s platform seeks to replace antiquated systems of tracking moonlighting work within departments, like using sticky notes and Excel spreadsheets. Through it, businesses and organizations looking to hire officers are connected to them based on GPS location.
On the backend, departments are able to track where and how long officers are moonlighting—helping to prevent things like burnout while tracking supplemental pay. It also allows the departments to track and recoup the costs of assets used while moonlighting, like police cars, which are often rented out for a fee.
“We’re not trying to reform some old moonlighting thing. We’re trying to increase transparency, give them a solution so they don’t have to be in this gray area,” Guthrie said. “We’re just trying to improve what’s already happening. Imagine going to a police department and saying, ‘I can improve your hiring, improve your retention, recover assets, start tracking, and lessen the risk of your city and your officers.’”
Businesses and individuals pay a transaction fee for hiring officers for things from security details to firearms training to driving tests. But Illuno makes their services available to departments for free, Guthrie said. Overall, he hopes the technology helps improve relationships between the community and police, in addition to helping attract new generations to the profession.
“One major thing that I keep seeing is the hiring and retention of police departments, they’re having a hard job,” Guthrie said. “If we fix moonlighting, it starts to become more of a lucrative job that we can track through our data analytics.”
From staffing agency to software platform
Guthrie retired from firefighting after nearly two decades to launch Illuno. Before forming the startup in 2020, he founded a staffing agency in Washington state focused on off-duty officers. While there, a colleague named David Bloom approached him with the cloud-based software that enables Illuno—something that was originally created to help the Seattle Seahawks staff security at their games, Guthrie said.
Currently, Illuno is in the process of onboarding more departments. After that, Guthrie said the company plans to incorporate other first responders like fire and EMS, while expanding the platform nationwide. Eventually, he hopes to see the platform used globally.
“This model is very unique,” Guthrie said. “I think it’ll revolutionize the way businesses communicate to police departments and also bridging the gap…between the public and policing.”
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