The Boston Police Department has disciplined 82 officers since August for working too many hours, many of them on lucrative paid detail shifts, the Boston Globe reports. Punishments ranged from verbal warnings to five-day suspensions, depending on the number of prior offenses. For safety reasons, department regulations prohibit officers from working more than 16 hours in a day, 96 hours in a week, or 320 hours in a month. The department began an aggressive crackdown to enforce the regulations last summer, trying to rein in officers who had been augmenting their paychecks with thousands of dollars from private security and road construction details, potentially leaving them exhausted during regular shifts.
The cap on hours was rarely enforced before the crackdown, when improvements to the computer payroll system allowed officials for the first time to audit officers’ hours. In the past, private details have generated $26 million in one year for the hundreds of officers who do them. Base pay for patrol officers was about $46,000 in March, but details and overtime can push an officer’s salary to more than $100,000. Police Commissioner Kathleen O’Toole said the crackdown is another step in her efforts to close loopholes in the department’s payroll administration that have allowed officers to take advantage of the system to make extra money.