The New York City Police Department spent a record $ 837 million on overtime for officers last year, even as murders in the city skyrocketed.
That figure represented 45% of New York City’s total overtime hours across all city departments. The NYPD has also spent a lot of other big cities like Los Angeles and Austin on police overtime over the past 10 years, according to Bloomberg, who cited the city’s budget data.
By comparison, the NYPD spent $ 724 million on overtime in fiscal 2019, $ 583 million in fiscal 2014, and $ 426 million in fiscal 2007.
The apparent increase in overtime pay last year came amid nationwide calls for police departments to cut budgets following the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis in late May 2020.
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As a result, many departments scattered as officers resigned en masse and those who remained were scattered in response to nationwide protests against police misconduct.
An NYPD spokesperson said the department “manages its overtime to ensure it is used in a way that continues to put public safety first.”
âThere are routine fluctuations in the amount of available resources over time and adjustments are made accordingly,â she said in a statement provided to FOX Business. âThe ministry recently benefited from a significant reduction in its overtime allowance, as reflected in the adopted budget.
She noted that overtime expenses related to arrests have declined steadily over the past decade.
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The city significantly slashed its overtime budget as part of the deal to cut the NYPD budget in the passed budget. The department’s overtime budget is $ 254 million and $ 486 million for fiscal years 2021 and 2022, respectively.
NYPD data shows there were nearly 470 murders in 2020 – up from 320 the year before. Thefts, crimes and property crimes have declined.
Supporters, like former New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, argue that overtime pay is necessary to meet rapidly changing staffing needs.
Others argue that money spent on overtime would be better spent on education and other public services in low-income areas.
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“We need a community center, we need a place where our children can go and play and be safe, we need affordable housing, we need jobs,” Michelle Neugebauer, who runs an organization Brooklyn-based nonprofit that offers affordable housing, after-school services and job training told Bloomberg. “This is where the investments need to go.”