Philadelphia Tries To Cut Its Huge Police Overtime Bill


The Philadelphia Police Department has created an Overtime Management Unit to rein in its $72.5 million budget for overtime pay, says the Philadelphia Inquirer. It will be headed by Inspector Christopher Flacco, 44. Amid a budget crisis, Mayor Michael Nutter ordered the department to cut $23 million in the year ending June 30. The bulk of those cuts, $14 million, will come from overtime. “It’s not easy,” said Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. “As we make more arrests, it means more time in court.” More time in court means more overtime.

In addition to overtime cuts, the department will save $8 million by leaving 200 police vacancies unfilled, a setback in Nutter’s campaign promise to add 500 officers to the 6,700-member force in five years. The department will lose 50 nonpatrol vehicles out of its total fleet of 1,700, saving $693,000. Ramsey suspended other initiatives, such as his plan to restart a mounted unit. Commanders say there is no way to eliminate overtime. Officers need to stay late to process arrests they make near the end of their shifts, and detectives, particularly in the homicide unit, are under intense pressure to investigate crimes in the critical hours after a crime is first reported.


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