BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new audit finds widespread overtime abuse in the Baltimore City Police Department, and a lack of accountability by top brass.
The uptick in crime comes as Baltimore’s mayor says she needs more officers on the streets, which would ultimately mean the department needs more money.
A city audit reveals overtime abuses in the department, and it’s costing taxpayers millions.
“The failure to maintain appropriate controls over overtime begins with the lack of appropriate policies to govern overtime and the failure extends through the lack of enforcement efforts,” it said in the audit.
Overtime spending has skyrocketed. Overtime was $23 million in the fiscal year 2013, and it more than doubled to $47 million by fiscal year 2017.
The audit did not name the names of any offenders, but the city solicitor said that is coming in “phase two” of an overtime investigation.
Auditors blamed command staff for failing to properly approve officers’ overtime and a culture where it is “impossible to effectively police and control overtime,”
Former Commissioner Darryl De Sousa put new overtime control policies into place earlier this year, but then quickly suspended them.
The scandal involving Baltimore PD’s Gun Trace Task Force exposed abuses, including corrupt officers claiming overtime while on tropical vacations.
They were also given days off in exchange for getting guns off the street, a policy the city is now trying to change.
City leaders say curbing overtime will cost significant money for new technology.
Auditors found police rely too much on old paper-based systems. They also recommended officers be required to attend roll call and that command staff stop the abuse of sick-leave.
City Council has been holding regular hearings on overtime.
Thursday afternoon, they will be asked to approve $21 million additional overtime dollars.
“Is there overtime abuse? I believe so,” Mayor Pugh said.
[REPORTER: “Who are you going to hold accountable for this?”] “The next police commissioner and the command staff,” Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh answered.
It comes amid violence in the city, with 253 murders and 546 non-fatal shootings year-to-date.
The Baltimore Police Department released the following statement on the audit:
“Reducing overtime costs is one of the Department’s top priorities. To that end, we have already begun implementing several recommendations included in the overtime audit and, working with the Mayor’s office, will continue that process over the next few months.”