Patrol Officer Overtime: 435 Hours In A Year


Payson police officers and their families argued before the Town Council Wednesday that they are working too much overtime.

Payson Police Chief Gordon Gartner said data indicates that each patrol officer will have worked a total of 435 hours of overtime for 1998-99. The total cost to the town for all patrol officers' overtime is estimated to be $140,000 to $150,000 for the year.

The estimate is based on officers' work since July 1998. "Since then, we tried to average it out," Gartner said. "We don't have a full year's worth of data."

Gartner said overtime in the police department is not totally preventable. In a memo to Town Manager Rich Underkofler earlier this year, Gartner noted that he wanted to keep overtime in his department to no more than 30 hours per pay period.

That hasn't happened, he said. "Some pay periods, we do OK --some pay periods, we stink."

The patrol officer overtime hours were based on 10 officers' time sheets. Gartner said there are 13 patrol officer positions currently at the Payson Police Department. Three of the positions were vacant for several months due to injury, illness or vacancies. In his budget request, Gartner wrote, "It is understood that these lost hours were a contributing factor to the overtime hours being worked."

The following chart illustrates the police department's overtime situation for patrol officers:

  • Category 1 --Holdover (time spent working after shift and being called in for extra shifts): Estimated to average 326 hours for each patrol officer for the year;
  • Category 2 -- Court: Estimated to average 45 hours for each patrol officer for the year;
  • Category 3 -- Training: Estimated to average 35 hours for each patrol officer for the year;
  • Category 4 -- Special Projects (speed details, survey and community presentations and rodeo weekend): Estimated to average 29 hours for each patrol officer for the year.

The average overtime cost per patrol officer is estimated to be $30 per hour, which includes the cost of benefits.

In his budget request, Gartner asked for $155,000 for overtime expenses in the General Operations budget for 1999-2000, saying that he believed he could reduce overtime by as much as 25 percent with the addition of five patrol officers.

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