DURHAM, NC (WNCN) — The police department spent $549,527 on overtime for officers this fiscal year, the highest amount the department has spent on overtime since 2019, according to new data from Durham.
Police data shows the amount the department is spending this fiscal year is up from fiscal 2021, when it spent $452,800, and fiscal 2020, when it spent $473,598.
But the amount Durham is spending this year is lower than 2019 when they spent $795,084.
CBS 17 reported first Durham Police issued around $500.00 on Monday this fiscal year on overtime to help maintain the minimum staffing level.
According to public records obtained by CBS 17, employees have worked at least 10,152 hours since July 2021.
CBS 17 revealed that the top 20 overtime earners within the department worked between 200 and 800 hours of overtime in the first eight months of the year.
All 20 top earners have made more than $10,000 so far this year from overtime alone.
The second highest earner is a police sergeant, who earned $41,874 this fiscal year from overtime alone. This employee’s base salary is $92,000, which means he’s made $133,874 so far this year.
The top overtime earner is also a police sergeant, who has earned $51,595 in overtime alone as of July 2021. This employee’s base salary is $97,000, which means he’s made $148,595 so far this year.
Durham Police told CBS 17 in an email that the overtime was voluntary. While there is a cap on the amount of overtime officers can work on outside jobs, there is no limit on the hours officers can work when they want to fill an extra patrol.
However, officers must take a break between shifts.
CBS 17 reached out to Durham City Councilman Leonardo Williams for a response to the Durham Police Department’s overtime spending.
“To me, the story isn’t about the dollar amount, it’s about why we have to overspend it on overtime,” Williams said. “What I think is exaggerated is that we have to pay so much overtime to the officers because we have so few officers.”
There are currently 101 vacancies in the Durham Police Department. The number of vacancies in the Durham Police Department has quadrupled since 2019, when there were just 24 vacancies in the department in the first quarter of the year.
While Durham City Council passed a 10 percent raise for new officers and differential raises for other officers, CBS 17 asked Williams if there was anything else the city could do to fill the vacancies.
“We’re having an aggressive recruitment campaign going on, we’re asking people who are coming of age to consider a career as a public servant,” Williams said.
However, Williams said police needed support from both city leaders and the community to help recruit and retain officers.
“I think that’s the most valuable thing we can do to attract people,” Williams said. “People want to work where they are valued. We value our officers and the next thing we can do is make sure we pay them well.”
https://www.cbs17.com/news/local-news/durham-county-news/durham-police-work-10000-ot-hours-amid-101-job-vacancies/ Durham Police work more than 10,000 OT hours across 101 vacancies