The City of Baltimore is a cultural example of where regressive crime policy has been implemented and the financial results shows how it doesn’t work. Over at HoosierEcon.com, I wrote a few times about Baltimore’s problems. One being how private security is being hired because police cannot keep up with crime.
More financial news is out showing how the city’s police department overtime budget has spent $50 Million to deal with the shortage of officers. Politically, this is being spun as officers “abusing” the overtime system. You may have a few, but staff shortages is more to blame.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison has pledged to crack down on officers who continue to exceed the department’s limit of 32 overtime hours a week.
“We found many officers working beyond 32 hours a week,” Harrison said. “It’s not just the answer to a financial question, but a health-and-wellness question. Are they really performing well?”
Other plans have failed to rein in overtime costs for a department that has suffered a lack of stable leadership. Four different men have led the Baltimore Police Department — the eighth-largest municipal force in America — since January 2018.
For example, Officer Clarence Grear works the front door at City Hall and a booth at a police parking garage, then volunteers for extra shifts. Grear earned about $212,800 last fiscal year. That made him the 10th highest-paid city employee. He declined to comment.
Overtime costs have doubled in five years to nearly $50 million for a department of about 2,500 sworn officers. Now 40 of the 50 highest-paid city employees work in the police department. These cops made up seven of the top 10 earners. The seven all earned more than the mayor’s salary of $178,000 last year.
Leaders in the police union blame staffing shortages for the rise in overtime. The force has been battered by attrition; last year commanders hired 184 officers only to watch 220 walk out the door.
Source: The Baltimore Sun