NYPD Likely To Blow Overtime Budget By At Least $162 Million, Independent Report Says

The NYPD is on track to spend more than $434 million on police overtime this year, about half of what the department spent on overtime last year during the height of the pandemic but still beyond budget, according to a report issued by the city’s Independent Budget Office Friday.

With the NYPD’s fiscal year ending June 30th, the report from the nonpartisan IBO said, “While just a few weeks remain in the fiscal year, the police department is on track to spend considerably less on overtime than it has in recent years.”

In the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the NYPD budgeted $615 million for civilian and officer overtime pay, and spent $837 million in reality, the IBO found. The office added that in this current fiscal year, the NYPD budgeted $268 million and is projected to exceed that by $162 million.

The biggest factors for this year’s decrease in overtime spending are likely all pandemic-related, said Doug Turetsky, communications director for the IBO, in an interview Saturday. He pointed to cancellations of many public events like sports and parades, fewer protests this year, less traffic as well as the city’s public school system operating on a hybrid model and requiring fewer NYPD safety agents at school buildings.

But the IBO report noted that “Even with the considerable drop in uniformed and civilian overtime, the police department will spend substantially more than the $268 million originally budgeted for this year—a recurring police department practice.”

Turetsky said the dip in overtime pay will likely start rising now that COVID-19 restrictions have been largely lifted by Governor Andrew Cuomo and more public events return.

“As the city opens up again, as we have more parades…the likelihood for overtime coming in again over budget, and over a higher budget than was projected for this year, is increasingly likely,” Turetsky said, adding “that’s a pattern we have every reason to expect will continue.”

A graph showing the increase in overtime pay over the years. For the Fiscal Year 2020-2021, the amount sharply fell but it was still beyond what was projected.

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When asked for comment, an NYPD spokesperson pointed to testimony that NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea gave the City Council at a May 11th hearing on the department’s budget, where he said overtime is down substantially over the past 15 years but defended it as necessary for operations.

“Overtime is a critical tool in maintaining public safety because it affords us additional deployment in neighborhoods with increasing levels of shootings and other violence, including in our transit system and housing developments,” Shea said at the May 11th hearing, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The NYPD has exceeded its overtime budget every year since 2007, City & State reported, noting “the expectation of overtime is often factored into the expected salaries of uniformed officers. The average uniformed officer brings in overtime that’s equivalent to 16% of their base salary, according to a Citizens Budget Commission estimate, and an NYPD captain brings in overtime that’s on average 32% of their base annual salary.”