It is being reported that an effort is now underway to get APD’s overtime budget under control. (See http://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/apd-overtime-policies-being-adjusted/4420581/?cat=500).
What took so long?
During the last 7 years, the Albuquerque Police Department has consistently gone over its overtime budget by millions arguably to the detriment of other city departments and other city employees.
Actual annual earnings for police officers can be higher than base salary due to the inclusion of overtime earnings, sick leave sell back, longevity pay, shift differential, incentive pays, and other “special pays” such as time and a half paid in overtime paid for court appearances.
A total of 124 of the 250 top wage earners at city hall are employed by the Albuquerque Police Department and include patrol officers, sergeants, lieutenants, commanders and deputy chiefs, assistant chief and the chief with annual pay ranging from $95,000 a year up to $166,699 a year. (See City of Albuquerque web site for full list of 250 top city wage earners).
The average and normal yearly salary paid APD Police Officers First Class is $56,000 a year.
Five (5) APD Patrol Officers First Class are listed in the top 250 city wage workers as being paid $146,971, $145,180, $140,243, $137,817 and $125,061 respectfully making them the 6th, the 7th, the 10th, the 12th and the 20th highest paid employees at city hall.
There are listed 66 Patrol Officers First Class in the list of the top 250 wage earners at city hall earning in excess of $95,000 a year and as much as $146,000 a year.
The normal yearly salary paid and APD Police Sergeant is $64,000.
There are 25 APD Police Sergeants in the list of the top 250 wage earners at city hall earning in excess of $95,00 a year and as much as $121,884 a year.
Combined, there are a total of 91 APD sworn police officers and sergeants who are named in the top 250 wage earners and city hall.
The fact that any APD Patrolman First Class or Sergeant is paid as much as between $95,000 to $146,000, or two to three times their normal salary, in any given year should be very concerning because it is a red flag for trouble, reflects excessive overtime and mismanagement of police resources or at the very least lack of personnel.
Consecutive shifts or excessive overtime for any police officer can lead to extreme fatigue, emotional burnout and reduce an officer’s alertness and response times and reflexes that can endanger lives and public safety.
The fact that there are 91 Patrol Officers and sergeants listed in the top 250 paid City employees reflects how poorly staffed APD really is forcing overtime overruns.
Excessive overtime for field officers can endanger the public safety by increasing the likelihood of on the job injuries and accidents or mistakes in handling service calls.
The number of APD sworn officers has fallen from 1,100 in 2009 to 850 in 2016.
Only 430 sworn officers are assigned to field services responding to 69,000 priority one 911 emergency calls a year which is probably one major reason for the excessive overtime.
Albuquerque needs 1,200 sworn police officers to effectively return to community based policing that will reduce overtime costs and reduce crime statistics.
A complete reorganization and change of management at APD is in order to get more police officers patrolling our streets.
An aggressive hiring and recruitment program needs to be initiated to increase the ranks of patrol officers.