It’s happening in the New York Police Department… but it is reflective of the greater world of policing. And it leaves officers across the country what they’ll do when their department is in the same boat.
The New York Daily News is reporting that an overtime cap has police officers taking a close look at their pensions and considering retirement.
Last week, NYPD slashed overtime, putting a cap on officers to a specific amount of hours a month.
And sources tell NY Daily News that means there’s a huge spike in the number of cops getting ready to hand in their papers.
Since the cap was announced, about a dozen officers a day are allegedly filed for retirement.
The department is closing in on the end of its 2018-2019 fiscal year, which is why the agency put in place the overtime caps for all of its units.
After a murder, homicide detectives typically work 24 hours straight. Now they have to limit their overtime to 30 hours a month.
“There are no exceptions to these numbers whatsoever,” Captain Nicholas Fiore said.
He’s the commanding officer of Brooklyn North detectives, and his words were captured in an email acquired by the Daily News.
“The number is a hard number without question.”
That same mandate applies to detective squad sergeants and lieutenants. The cap is 20 hours a month for officers who do administrative work in detective squads.
The Daily News source said the caps have resulted in “a higher number of detectives than normal” announcing their retirement plans.
“There were more because the department walked back the overtime,” the source said. “It’s unsettling for people who are close to retirement or already can retire, but wanted to bank some overtime first.”
For anyone counting, here’s a how an NYPD retiree’s monthly pension payouts are calculated.
They are based on how much the officer made in the last few years, which is inclusive of overtime.
That’s why many cops who plan to retire crank out as many hours as possible in their last year, so they increase their retirement checks.
Overtime is approved for arrests, but not investigative work, in Staten Island. That comes from the head of the borough’s detective .
“It’s really bad that they’re doing this, especially for the homicide detectives,” one detective said. “By capping overtime, the department’s allowing killers to walk free.”
Ed Mullins is the president of the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association.
He argues that officers now feel their hands are tied when it comes to investigating cases and processing arrests.
“The overtime is a concern because of the extra money, but, today, when guys are working on a case and they reach the end of the tour, they’re being told that the next tour is going to pick it up, but that’s not about to happen because they have their own cases to worry about,” Mullins said.
According to police leadership, the cap will be removed in July at the end of the fiscal year.
“This is par for the course,” one department source told The New York Daily News. “Then the summer comes, it’s a new fiscal year, it gets hot, there’s more crime and then there’s no more cap.”
NYPD wouldn’t talk about the cap. They said any questions about retirements should go the NYC Police Pension Fund.
When the Daily News asked the Fund about retirement numbers, a spokeswoman said she wouldn’t release them. She demanded that the media outlet put in a Freedom of Information Law request for them.
“The department consistently and routinely manages resources, including overtime, to ensure that resources are used efficiently and to achieve the greatest good. That’s just good business,” an NYPD spokesman said. “We are confident that with the resources at hand we can continue to keep New York City America’s safest big city.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill said he’s not concerned.
“This is what we do, we have to manage overtime,” O’Neill said. “This is part of our management overtime program to make sure that the money goes to where we need it to fight crime.”