When a teenage mob terrorized Louisville’s downtown last March, the startled citizenry demanded more cops to control the heart of their city. The mayor and police chief faced a conundrum, reports the city’s Courier-Journal: shift cops downtown from other parts of the city, or quickly burn through the police department’s overtime budget. They chose to spend the money.
Police officers logged more than 25,000 hours in overtime during the six weeks between the March 22 unrest and the Kentucky Derby on May 3. It cost just shy of $1 million, a 40 percent increase in overtime payments from the same stretch the year before. Within a month of the mob, the department had busted its $1.9 million budget for unscheduled overtime. By June 30, the end of the fiscal year, the department anticipates being around $1 million over budget, said Assistant Chief of Police Ozzy Gibson. Overtime spending is sometimes “a necessity,” he said. “We had to protect the community.”