A city internal audit reveals that the Albuquerque Police Department spent over $3.9 million over its “overtime” budget. (SEE http://krqe.com/2017/03/21/internal-audit-reveals-apd-spent-3-9m-over-budget-for-ot-last-year/)
The audit says in fiscal year 2016, APD paid over time to APD employees in a total amount of $13 million when the actual budget was for $9 million.
This audit report should not come as a surprise to anyone.
Neither should the political spin by our $200,000 a year Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and political operative Rob Perry.
CAO Rob Perry blames the excessive overtime on the Department of Justice reforms which is laughable and is truly an “alternative fact”.
According to CAO Rob Perry “The vast majority of the over time is related to a lot of the DOJ requirement training, use of force policies and changes there, too, on CIT, crisis intervention training”.
The problem with Perry’s spin, that is not what the internal audit report found.
The truth is, APD management has pretty much ignored the dictates of CAO Rob Perry to get a handle on the overtime problem and it reflects just how little respect they have for him.
The city internal audit focuses primarily on protocol issues within APD on how over time is garnered, not how much was spent, and the protocol would have to have been approved and ordered by CAO Rob Perry.
The audit says that too often, officers didn’t follow the rules when it came to getting overtime pre-approved or didn’t properly submit overtime for “grant funded” traffic over time, which has nothing to do with the DOJ consent decree mandates and training.
According to the audit, there are potentially 38,000 cases of unapproved overtime that occurred during fiscal year 2016 based on a sampling of time cards.
Nowhere does the audit blame the implementation of the DOJ mandated reforms as the cause of the overtime as argued by CAO Rob Perry.
During the last 7 years, the Albuquerque Police Department has consistently gone over its overtime budget by millions to the detriment of other city departments and other city employees.
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.
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 are 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.
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.