Irony: Protests demanded defunding a police department resulted in $900k in overtime for officers

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BATON ROUGE, LA –After George Floyd died in police custody in May of this year, protest, riots, and looting became widespread in large metropolitan areas. 

As a result, a significant amount of law enforcement presence was necessary to try to maintain the peace and safeguard property in the area. 

This cost is not free and now new reports are out showing Baton Rouge area officers made almost $900,000 in overtime.

WAFB9 wanted to know exactly how much overtime was expended during the course of the protests and civil unrest, so they filed a public records request.  There request focused on the Baton Rouge Police Department and the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office. 

They were shocked at what they found.

Numerous officers from the police department, including administrative positions, accrued overtime.  This, of course, more than likely necessary as these demonstrations were quite large, but some criticize the use of overtime.

Baton Rouge Police Department Deputy Chief of Administrations Myron Daniels told WAFB when speaking of the amount of manning that was utilized and paid by overtime:

“It was quite a few [officers].  I can’t say it was ever[one], but was more than normal, definitely.”

Daniels then tried to put it into perspective for everyone:

“Well, like I said, if you’re not familiar with the budget, it could seem shocking, but when you put it into perspective, for example, we have some major parades here throughout the seasons, and some of those parades, particularly the larger ones, we may spend $50,000 on average just for that day for a parade, so, looking at our numbers, we spent about $17,000 a day to prepare for the protests, or the demonstrations, or the rallies that were had. 

And when you put it into perspective, it’s not as glaring as a number from that standpoint.”

The Sheriff’s Office for the East Baton Rouge Parish also had a large number of law enforcement that worked the protests.  They paid out $210,248 for those events in June.

Although the numbers may be shocking to some, there are a couple factors to consider, beyond the fact that very few, if any, officers wanted to be there. 

Rest assured, the vast majority of law enforcement that were there were most likely mandated due to the type of event and the amount of riots, property damage, and looting that has occurred in other areas of the nation.

Daniels tries to explain the reasons for the extra law enforcement presence and the need for it.  He said:

“Our ultimate goal was to ensure that those who decided to exercise their constitutional right were well protected, and I think we met that goal.

“It’s kind of hard to put a price on safety.  And with that, I think in layman’s terms, it was money well spent.”

Beyond that, Daniels takes time to explain what law enforcement does at mass events like these, regardless of what they are for:

“There are a lot of other things that people may not see, whether it’s the traffic side of it, being able to keep traffic off of those who may be protesting in the area.

“Also, we still have our everyday duties responding to calls around the city, so again, these are unusual occurrences and we have to be prepared for them.”

Law Enforcement, and well, anyone in the country should know how quickly these events can turn into mass chaos.  For those of you that doubt that, check out news in Seattle and Portland on any given night, there are plenty of examples of it.

Law Enforcement must be prepared to deal with anything at a moment’s notice, whether it is protesters becoming violent, setting fires, attacking officers, or it is counter protesters wanting to drive into the crowd or instigate a fight.  There must be sufficient numbers of officers to respond to stop the issue and restore calm as quickly and as safely as possible.

The problem is there is no way to accurately predict the amount of people that are going to attend an event like this, nor what their true intentions may be. 

And it’s not just Baton Rouge.  One of the hotbeds for insurrection, Portland, is experiencing the same thing:

PORTLAND, OR – As if Portland didn’t have enough monetary expenses active or pending on the destruction caused by the endless riots and protests in the past few months – there’s also the multi-million dollar costs associated with policing these very protests and riots.

According to reports, police overtime costs associated with the unrest in the city has cost $6.9 million. While rioters and protesters have been clamoring to “defund the police,” their activities are ironically forcing more money to go towards policing.

This $6.9 million in spending toward overtime is only when reviewing the data from Portland between June and July.

Considering that the protests and riots have yet to cease, it’s fair to assume that the overtime costs connected to the period of the riots is now well above $7 million.

When reviewing the overtime costs from January of 2020 up until July, the total ticket is $11.4 million for that entirety. What that means is between January and the end of May this year, the PPB was shelling out an average of around $900K monthly for overtime costs.

Yet, in June and July, the average monthly cost between the two months for overtime was $3.45 million each.  

But it’s not just overtime costing money either, nor is it the needed repairs to portions of the city due to the destructive efforts of bad actors at these riots and protests.

There were tens-of-thousands in costs related to crowd control assets and mere protective measures for buildings in the area.

In early June, there was nearly $50,000 spent on items like chemical munitions and pepper spray for the PPB. Then, by mid-June, slightly over $20,000 was spent to re-up on that very same type of equipment. The mayor’s office also shelled out $30,000 for fencing that was erected around City Hall.

Another $40,000 was spent on fencing via the PPB in June and July, which mostly covered areas in Chapman and Lownsdale squares. Apparently, that fencing only lasted a few days when erected and was subsequently removed.

But law enforcement officials are all too aware that overtime costs are needed in these times. Such as when departments are feeling the effects of the defunding that has taken place.

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With violent crime in the rise within certain areas of New York City, the NYPD has announced that strategically allocated overtime for certain precincts will be administered that are among some of the areas most greatly impacted by this rising violence.

The current rate of shootings has soared when compared to 2019 data in New York City, with the NYPD showing an overall increase of 87% for the entirety of 2020 and a 143% increase for August alone. With violent crime increasing, there has also been an increase in response times.

Data shows that officer response times increased by 44% in June of this year and 14% collectively between July and August. Currently, there are two theories being touted as to what is causing these increased response times.

Former police officer and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams suggested that police precincts might be intentionally slowing their response times due to the anti-police sentiments across the country:

“The Department of Investigation must look at precinct by precinct to see if job actions are taking place in certain precincts out of frustration.”

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea denied that there was some collective move by precincts to intentionally slow down their response times:

“New York City police officers and detectives are as dedicated today as they ever have been.”

Surprisingly, Mayor Bill de Blasio presented an alternative theory to Adams’. The mayor reasonably pointed out that the recent cuts to the NYPD budget, which was nearly $1 billion, is going to inevitably affect things like response times:

“If there are fewer police officers and less overtime there are going to be challenges.”

These questions about what’s going on with policing, with respect to response times, comes on the heels of a recent murder of a caretaker for the Bedford-Stuyvesant Church who was gunned down on August 31st.

Deacon Ronald Stewart lamented the loss of the 62-year-old victim, calling him a “good man” and describing how he and his wife took him in off the streets and afforded the victim a second chance at life:

“He was an asset to the church, a very good person. Not only that, me and my wife took him off the street and we fed him. We did everything for him.”

Earlier on August 31st, a Manhattan criminal court judge was randomly attacked by an assailant while she was heading down Water Street on her way to work. A witness to the attack, Barat Mukhtiyi, described the seemingly random assault:

“Somebody hit her on the face and the guy was on a bicycle.”

Not long after the incident involving the judge being assaulted, there was reportedly two men who were shot while standing outside of a daycare facility in Fordham Heights.

Starting on September 1st, small amounts of overtime are now going to be allocated to certain precincts and will be approved until the end of the summer. It’s unclear if the NYPD will be considering any continuance of overtime after the aforementioned period.


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