Chicago Police ‘Culture of Abuse’ on Overtime Cited

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Chicago has wasted millions on police overtime because of an “unchecked culture of abuse” and “inefficient management” that failed to control costs, eliminate fraud or prevent officer fatigue, says Inspector General Joe Ferguson, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Police Superintendent. Eddie Johnson considered the audit so damaging to the department’s credibility that he rushed back to work to respond to the findings, even though he is still recovering from a kidney transplant. Johnson argued that the strategy of using overtime to mask a manpower shortage had “run its course.” He promised to hold supervisors accountable for overtime and conduct random audits to make certain they do.

After examining police overtime from 2014 through the first six months of 2016, Ferguson found the Chicago Police Department’s operational controls full of holes or virtually nonexistent. The alleged failures go well beyond the department’s painfully slow switch from paper-based to electronic timekeeping, which won’t be complete until mid-2019. Management controls at the city’s largest department “do not adequately prevent unnecessary overtime, deter abuse … or ensure overtime is paid in compliance” with CPD policy, Ferguson said. Neither are there policies in place to control costs, prevent “excessive overtime” that leads to officer fatigue or “detect and prevent fraud, waste and abuse,” Ferguson said. At a time when private companies and nearly every other city department has long since switched to electronic timekeeping, the police department is still stuck in the Dark Ages, spending $7.2 million a year on 61 “time-keepers” and an unknown number of sworn officers assigned to “time-keeping and data entry.”

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