January 23, 2024
In spring 2022, a Baltimore Police officer worked 22.75 hours of overtime in one day — eight hours for the department and nearly 15 hours of casino security and speed camera-related secondary employment.
It was one of three separate instances that fiscal year when the officer worked more than 20 hours of overtime in a single day, according to a state audit of the police department’s overtime released on Monday.
Some officers’ “excessive” overtime was the result of Baltimore Police failing to sufficiently monitor overtime activity and to evaluate the “necessity and propriety” of high levels of overtime being paid to specific officers, according to 74-page report from the Office of Legislative Audits.
It identified 100 officers who worked more than 1,000 hours of overtime in fiscal year 2021-22, which ran from July 2021 to June 2022; of those, it said, seven earned more than $100,000 in overtime. The department paid out more than $45 million in overtime in total during that period.
The department’s failure was one of a host of issues identified in agency practices from 2021 through mid-2022: Baltimore Police didn’t analyze unusually high levels of overtime by some officers. It didn’t enforce overtime limits, including a cap of 32 voluntary overtime hours per week. And it didn’t conduct required overtime audits.
Baltimore Police said in a written statement on Monday that the report doesn’t reflect the present state of the payroll system or present a “full picture” of the circumstances during the audit period, including the COVID pandemic. It noted, too, that the period coincided with the city’s implementation in late 2020 of a new payroll system, Workday, to replace the old outdated system that allowed for employee abuse.
BPD went on to say it has developed a plan to implement the audit’s recommendations to remedy identified flaws. The agency has already upgraded payroll processes, rewritten policies and begun to establish oversight to monitor and prevent abuse of overtime, according to its written statement. It also is working on an overtime dashboard for supervisors or commanders to review.
“We look forward to continuing our work and fulfilling the recommendations in the audit,” the statement said. The department’s written responses in the audit list estimated completion dates through the end of May.