Cops Pocket Millions By Abusing Overtime And Going Over Budget

money set on fire
Zain Murdock
April 17, 2023

New York Mayor Eric Adams promised to cut police overtime spending in half. But tallies report that, before the fiscal year has even ended, the NYPD has exceeded its overtime budget by $100 million, well on its way to breaking a spending record. 

There’s a word for this: overtime abuse. And other departments across the country are guilty, too.

From New Jersey to California, police have abused overtime for decades. The National Institute of Justice even reported on it in 1998. Still, today, police record enough hours to double their yearly salaries. Many do so by instigating arrests at the end of their shifts. 

And in New York’s case, all that overtime “work” hasn’t led to increased public safety.

In 2020, as protests to defund and end police violence became more mainstream, departments racked up millions in overtime pay. Disturbingly, by logging hours during those same protests.

Meanwhile, the average civilian worker loses $17,726 annually in unpaid overtime. 52% of full-time workers work over 40 hours a week, many working over 50 and 60 hours. 

But of course, since cops don’t actually serve civilians, that’s not the kind of theft they investigate.

When police abuse overtime this much, defunding them to reallocate resources isn’t unrealistic. It’s the bare minimum. And the more of us empowered with this knowledge, the better.

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