Cleveland police employees bring in nearly $9 million in overtime in six months

Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 5:33 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - 19 Investigates found dozens of city police officers and employees brought in five figures in over time this year, costing you the taxpayer.

Cleveland Police employees raked up nearly $9 million in overtime in the first six months of the year, according to city records we obtained.

It’s been happening for years.

We asked the city how short staffing could be playing a role and if something needs to change.

There’s no question Cleveland Police officers and other employees are busy working extra hours on the job to keep you safe.

But how much overtime is too much?

We found a Cleveland police patrol officer made $53,000 in the first six months of this year and was the top overtime owner. That’s a full year’s salary for some people.

19 Investigates just got a hold of city records listing overtime for about 1,500 CPD employees from January to June this year, from patrol officers to dispatchers.

It turns out, Cleveland Police employees pulled in $8,831,504 in overtime in six months.

We crunched the numbers and found 72 Cleveland Police employees made over $20,000 in overtime in the last six months, 22 employees made over $30,000 and seven employees made over $40,000.

Most of the highest overtime earners are patrol officers.

But we also found a police lieutenant, a forensic video specialist, sergeants, captains, radio dispatchers and senior data conversion operators pulling in more than $10,000 in overtime.

And we discovered 17 homicide detectives made over $10,000 working extra hours.

They have been very busy, with 105 homicides in the city reported so far this year.

So what’s contributing to the high overtime?

Cleveland police, city council and the mayor have all spoken about the problem of short staffing in the department, as public safety faces a nationwide recruiting crisis.

Documents show the city budgeted for nearly $15 million in police overtime this year.

We found the city budgeted for the same amount of police overtime last year, but went over by more than $5 million dollars.

So why didn’t they budget more this year?

There’s nothing to suggest people violated policy, but we asked Mayor Justin Bibb’s office if anything needs to change.

They sent us this information from Cleveland Police:

“The Cleveland Division of Police conducts regular reviews of police overtime and continues to monitor overtime to ensure that it is approved only when necessary. The staffing levels of the Cleveland Division of Police, like law enforcement agencies across the country, have decreased in recent years, making overtime necessary.

“The men and women of the Division of Police work tirelessly to keep our city safe,” said Director of Public Safety, Karrie D. Howard.

Officers are assigned and deployed on each shift to adequately respond to calls for service. Safety is our priority.

“I appreciate the efforts of our officers as they continue to work long hours to ensure that the best services are provided to the citizens of Cleveland,” said Wayne Drummond, Cleveland Police Chief. “When officers put in the hard work, they are, and deserve to be, compensated for doing so.”

The Division continues to review options to maximize deployment.”

We’ll keep watching to see whether CPD stays on budget for its overtime through the end of the year.