Five Jersey City, N.J., cops each brought home more than $50,000 in overtime last year, with one officer making $83,249, nearly matching his base salary, according to payroll documents reviewed by The Jersey Journal. In all, Jersey City cops earned $6.6 million in overtime last year. Two police officers who topped all others in overtime pay last year, each worked about 1,000 hours of overtime, logging anywhere from eight to 81 hours overtime during two-week pay periods.
Police Chief Tom Comey said there are a variety of reasons why an officer would take home a lot of overtime. An aggressive investigator makes numerous court appearances, which require a minimum of four hours of overtime per appearance under collective-bargaining agreements. The five officers who earned the most overtime — taking home a combined $333,355 in overtime alone — work in the radio room of the Public Safety Communications Center, where officers need special training to help dispatch calls fielded by civilian 911 operators. Jersey City, with a population of 240,858, had 1,791 instances of violent crime in 2009. St. Petersburg, Fl., which had 3,334 reported violent crimes in 2009, spent $2.8 million in police overtime last year, and the cop who worked the most overtime made $28,000 above his base salary.