ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An internal audit reveals the City of Albuquerque dished out $3.9 million over budget for Albuquerque police over time pay during fiscal year 2016.
The 16-page report reveals several things about how the Albuquerque Police Department handles over time, to include the massive spike in over time pay from July 2015 to July 2016.
For Shaun Willoughby, president of the Albuquerque Police Officers Association, the audit reveals just how bad and costly the officer shortage is.
“We should have 1,200 to 1,300 cops in this community, we have 840-830,” he said. “Management feels that it’s cheaper to pay people over time than it is to actually staff an entire entity.”
The report was released in response to an “anonymous call” made to the city’s Internal Audit Office.
In fiscal year 2016, APD paid over time to employees in a total amount of $13 million. The actual budget was $9 million — that’s $3.9 million over.
The audit focuses primarily, however, on protocol issues within APD on how over time is garnered, not how much was spent.
Among its suggestions, is that APD better track OT to make sure officers aren’t cheating the system.
It also says that too often, officers didn’t follow the rules when it came to getting OT pre-approved or didn’t properly submit OT for grant funded traffic over time. There are potentially 38,000 cases of unapproved OT that occurred during fiscal year 2016 based on a sampling of time cards.
Willoughby says the department transitioned from paper to computer time clocking during this time, which could account for the need to improve the over time system and protocol.
“Are there going to be inconsistencies and ways that we can get better as an organization? Sure. There’s always going to be those factors, but the biggest part of the problem is, you don’t have enough cops in this city,” he said. “At the end of the day the real answer to the problem is, let’s fully staff this police department, pay officers a competitive salary and get this problem fixed.”
KRQE News 13 spoke with Rob Perry, Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Albuquerque. He believes the spike in OT can be attributed to something else, and that it will decrease going forward.
“The vast majority of the over time is related to a lot of the DOJ requirement training, use of force policies and changes there, too, on CIT, crisis intervention training,” Perry said. “If there’s a staffing shortage, it certainly can reflect itself in increased over time and it probably does to a proportionate amount…probably 5 percent, 7 percent.”
Perry’s percentages mean that of the $13 million paid out to APD employees in over time for fiscal year 2016, $900,000 would be related to staffing shortages.
APD tells KRQE News 13 its goal is to graduate 100 cadets from its academy this year.
In the audit, APD responded to each finding with a promise to improve, and make necessary changes by July of this year.