Boston City Councilors to Hold Third Oversight Hearing on Boston Police Overtime
For Immediate Release:
March 12, 2021
BOSTON — Today, Boston City Councilors Kenzie Bok, Andrea Campbell, and Matt O’Malley will hold a public hearing of the Ways & Means Committee to discuss the City of Boston and Boston Police Department’s (BPD) oversight protocols for BPD overtime and their progress towards achieving promised reductions in the City’s FY21 police overtime budget. The BPD is expected to present budget data analysis, now that the second quarter of the City’s fiscal year has concluded, and to report on any new controls and protocols.
“The fiscal pressure the city is facing related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the urgent need for community-led and equity-focused investments in our communities, only underscores how imperative it is that BPD limits its police overtime costs to the $48 million budgeted for FY21,” said Councilor Bok.
Councilors Bok, Campbell, and O’Malley originally filed this hearing order in July 2020, and the Councilors have held quarterly hearings to oversee the BPD’s progress towards overtime reductions. Recent cases of overtime fraud, as well as the continued lack of a clear plan to achieve the budgeted overtime savings for FY21, point to the need for additional procedural controls and oversight reforms and may indicate the need for additional civilian administration and finance expertise within the BPD.
"If we’re going to actualize our commitments to reduce our police overtime budget and reallocate money into strategies that address root causes of violence and crime, we must have an actionable plan to do so, with timelines and accountability for meeting these goals and to build a sustainable path forward to reducing overtime in the future," said Councilor Campbell.
The previous hearing on BPD Overtime, on November 16, 2020, raised concerns from Councilors about the Department’s progress towards a reduction in police overtime of 20% from FY20 to FY21. Based on the data provided by the BPD at the November 16, 2020 hearing, Councilors concluded that the BPD was not on track to limit its police overtime costs to the $48 million budgeted for FY21. An upward trend in the number of injured and off-duty police officers also raised concerns about officers’ wellbeing and the lack of fiscal and administrative oversight in this area. Councilors will follow up on these concerns, as well as previous related data requests for information including: contextual staffing data, non-discretionary versus discretionary spending, possible structural changes, shift and time structuring, overtime decision-making, and transparency measures.
“I look forward to continuing this discussion including assessing solutions such as removing any policies that encourage the use of overtime as a normal rather than an unusual practice, addressing the four-hour minimum for court details, and implementing an accountability mechanism for reviewing payroll data,” said Councilor O’Malley.
For more information:
Emily Brown, Councilor Bok’s Office: 617-519-7519
Eli Pimentel, Councilor Campbell’s Office: 617-680-5100
Jessica Morris, Councilor O’Malley’s Office: 203-362-7806