Milwaukee Council President Willie Hines Jr. will seek to cap police overtime costs in the city’s budget for 2008. Hines’ proposal came after a Milwuakee Journal Sentinel investigation finding that the Milwaukee Police Department spent $17.8 million in overtime in 2006, more than enough to fill every one of its 227 sworn officer vacancies, and then some. An audit of 2005 overtime showed that police spent $14.5 million on overtime that year.
“The bulk of our overtime is spent because we have suffered over the last 10 to 15 years with a huge number of vacancies,” said Alderman Bob Donovan. “I feel we need to do everything we can to fill all of those vacancies, given the level of crime in this community, given the level of violence.” Mayor Tom Barrett is committed to putting more officers on he streets. By next year the force is likely to stand at over 2,000 – the most officers since 1999.