DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – According to new data from Durham, the police department has spent $549,527 on overtime for officers this fiscal year, which is the most the department has spent on overtime since 2019.
Data from police show that the amount the department is spending this fiscal year is an increase from fiscal year 2021 when they spent $452,800 and fiscal year 2020 when they spent $473,598.
But the amount Durham is spending this year is down from 2019 when they spent $795,084.
CBS 17 first reported on Monday that Durham police has spent around $500,00 this fiscal year on overtime to help maintain minimum staffing.
According to public records CBS 17 obtained, employees have worked at least 10,152 hours since July 2021.
CBS 17 uncovered the 20 top overtime earners within the department have worked anywhere from 200 to 800 hours in overtime in the first eight months of the year.
All 20 of the top earners have all made more than $10,000 in overtime alone so far this year.
The second top earner is a police sergeant who has made $41,874 in overtime hours alone this fiscal year. This employee has a base salary of $92,000, which means so far this year he has made $133,874.
The top earner in overtime is also a police sergeant who made $51,595 just in overtime since July 2021. This employee has a base salary of $97,000, which means so far this year he has made $148,595.
Durham police told CBS 17 in an email that the overtime hours are voluntary. While there is a cap on how many hours of overtime officers can work in secondary employment, there is not a limit on hours that officers can work if they want to fill in on supplemental patrol.
However, officers are required to take a break between shifts.
CBS 17 reached out to Durham City Councilman Leonardo Williams for a reaction to Durham police spending on overtime.
“For me, the story is not about the dollar figure, it’s about why we’re having to spend it excessively on overtime,” Williams said. “What I believe is excessive, is that we have to pay so many officers overtime because we are so short on officers.”
Currently, there are 101 vacancies in the Durham Police Department. The number of vacancies in the Durham Police Department has quadrupled since 2019 when there were only 24 vacancies in the department in the first quarter of the year.
While the Durham City Council passed a 10 percent pay increase for starting officers and varying raises for other officers, CBS 17 asked Williams if there is anything else the city can do to help fill the vacancies.
“We have an aggressive recruitment campaign that’s going on right now, we are asking folks who are coming of age to consider a career as a public service officer,” Williams said.
But Williams said there needs to be support for the police 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 folks,” Williams said. “People want to work where they are appreciated. We appreciate our officers and the next thing we can do is make sure we pay them well.”