BALTIMORE, Maryland — The administration of the Baltimore Police Department is in the public eye after an audit revealed that officer overtime payouts have more than doubled since 2013, reported NBC.

The audit also claimed that the Police Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which includes Internal Affairs, did not hold officers accountable for overtime abuses.

“Is there overtime abuse? I believe so,” Mayor Catherine Pugh said. “Do we have the number of officers in the Police Department that we should? Absolutely not.”

The article reported that in 2013, the BPD paid out $23 million in overtime. In 2017, the BPD paid out $47 million.

In the original article posted by NBC following the audit of the department, the author alleges that officers are taking advantage of the system, intentionally working extra hours during unnecessary times in order to collect higher payouts.

Supporters of law enforcement did not take kindly to the accusations made in the report. In a letter directed to the editor of the article, Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Mancuso refuted the claims, alleging that Baltimore PD is short 1,000 officers.

“Our manpower is down approximately 1,000 less than what is required yet everyone is scratching their heads trying to determine why Overtime costs are so high.”

Baltimore Police

The BPD is facing massive deficits in staffing (NBC 11 Broadcast)

Mancuso doesn’t think the blame should rest on the officers’ shoulders.

“These issues are the result of years of mismanagement by various City and BPD administrations and will take years to repair.”

If this is happening to Baltimore Police, what are the odds that it’s happening in other departments and jurisdictions across the country?

Pretty high.

Baltimore Police

The Baltimore FOP maintains that BPD is in need of over 1,000 officers.

Districts that used to send out 21 officers per shift are now deploying 8 – 10 at a time. To make matters worse, a lot of these officers are coming from other districts and have little to no knowledge of the area they are being drafted to patrol. What you end up with is officers putting themselves and others in danger by not knowing the street layout or the areas with a high concentration of crime – an issue that could potentially cost police and civilian lives. When an emergency occurs and an officer doesn’t know where to go, it hurts everyone involved.

Baltimore Police

Two men throw glass bottles during the 2015 Baltimore riots (US Department of Defense)

Earlier this year, CNBC reported that Houston, Texas was down over 2,000 officers, with cities like Atlanta, San Jose, and Hartford, Connecticut also experiencing major staff shortages.

So we must ask ourselves: where have all the cops gone? Why are we short so many officers around the country? Why are recruitment numbers for the academy staggeringly short compared to years ago? And how do we fix it?

There is no denying that there is a war on law enforcement. Politically charged activists call for violence against the Thin Blue Line. Politicians speak out against us and put restrictions on us that can cost us our lives. The media crucifies us in a quest for ratings. Officers are scared to protect themselves because of what reaction the public might have.

Liz Warren called the entire criminal justice system racist ‘from front to back.’ (Wikipedia Commons)

This needs to end.

It’s time to tell our kids that it’s okay to want to be a cop when they grow up. It’s okay to answer that call to service. It’s okay to dedicate your life to keeping others safe. Because when we stop fighting for justice, the America we know and love will be lost.