22 January 2023

A Number to Shock You

One of the issues that is frequently ignored in dealing with effective law enforcement is overtime abuse by the rank and file.

Unlike almost any other workers, cops can put in overtime without authorization, or much in the way of supervision.

In the case of New York City, this means that in 2023, the NYPD is on track to go through almost twice the $454 ,000,000.00 budgeted:

Under Mayor Eric Adams’ latest budget plan, many city agencies from libraries to public schools would be strained mightily to trim costs without reducing services or laying off workers.

With the police department, however, there is a little more flexibility.

Under the preliminary budget Adams unveiled Thursday, the NYPD budgeted $452 million for overtime in coming fiscal year 2024, which begins July 1. Based on the department’s track record, that number seems highly unrealistic.

For the current fiscal year, 2023, the department had budgeted about the same amount: $454.8 million. But as of Dec. 31 — halfway through the fiscal year — they’d already spent nearly $412 million.

If the NYPD continues to spend at that rate, the final overtime bill for fiscal 2023 will pass $820 million.

Hours after Adams released out his budget plan, city Comptroller Brad Lander already tagged the department’s overtime estimate as “under budgeted.” Public Advocate Jumaane Williams asserted that it essentially protected law enforcement from making sacrifices while shifting the lion’s share of cost-cutting to social services and education.

The budget consequences are clear, but it should also be noted that all of this overtime also produces bad policing from sleep deprived cops. 

Half of all NYPD cops put in about 400 hours of overtime a year, a 48 hour week, and some put in more than 1200 hours, which is about a 64 hour week.

The cops at the high end are as impaired as if they drank a pint of Vodka at the start of their shifts.

Lack of overtime controls also gets the citizens of the City of New York, "Collars for Dollars," where cops make bogus arrests in order to pad their overtime.

It needs to stop now.


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