Officer overtime puts Minneapolis Police Department $5 million over budget

Officer overtime puts Minneapolis Police Department $5 million over budget

Officer overtime puts Minneapolis Police Department $5 million over budget

The Minneapolis Police Department is on track to exceed its budget for officer overtime and providing support staff for events by roughly $5 million, according to a budget presentation led by Police Chief Brian O’Hara before City Council on Monday afternoon.

Chief O’Hara, anticipating the department will be in the same position at the end of next year, recommended an addition of $5 million to the overtime and support staff budget for 2024.

Ward 4 City Council Member and Public Health & Safety Committee Chair LaTrisha Vetaw, reacting on Wednesday afternoon, expected it will cause some sticker shock among residents who have the opportunity to comment on the proposed 2024 citywide budget at City Hall in the evening.

“I think there’s going to be some pushback about the amount, but the reality is that’s where we are in Minneapolis. We’re paying to have officers on the street,” Vetaw continued.

“Today, our staffing level per capita is among the lower ones of all major U.S. cities,” O’Hara said responding to council members’ questions on Monday, explaining the department’s need to spend more to keep fewer officers on the clock for longer.

Minneapolis officers have worked 265,000 overtime hours this year, which is 50,000 more than in 2022 and 150,000 more hours than in 2019, according to data presented by the police department’s finance director Robin McPherson. 

“It’s very difficult for them,” O’Hara said, referencing patrol officers. “They’ve watched 40% of their colleagues walk out the door over the last three years.”

Those extra hours are expected to cost the city more than $25 million by the end of the year, putting the department $5 million over budget, according to McPherson’s report.

“To know that next year that can grow even higher, like, that’s a huge burden on the people in Minneapolis,” Vetaw reacted, adding that she believes the police department is doing a good job recruiting.

However, to rebuild the ranks entirely, she said is going to take a historic effort, including recruiting from both non-traditional and diverse places, and likely a raise in pay.

Vetaw pointed to data from the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, which showed that officers serving the largest city in the state are tenth on the list for pay.

“That’s not acceptable,” Vetaw continued. “And if we’re saying we want the best, if we’re saying we want to really rethink how our Police Department operates, we’re adding training — all these things that we want to see happen, we have to be the top paid police department.”