Seattle Police blows overtime budget: manual schedules part of the problem | KUOW News and Information

Seattle Police blows overtime budget: manual schedules part of the problem

Jun 23, 2016

Seattle city leaders say the Seattle Police Department has an overtime problem. In 2015 the department blew past its overtime budget by $9 million (over the budgeted $15 million).

A city audit in April directed SPD to fix the problem. This week, Seattle City Council members said they plan to hold the department accountable, too.


A Council committee led by Lorena González met Wednesday, and she made it clear she has an expectation going forward.

González: "That the police department is going to do everything they can to address the things that, I think, are artificially inflating the need to use overtime in the first place."

The overtime audit, requested by police chief Kathleen O'Toole, explains that the SPD creates schedules manually so it's difficult to monitor overtime. Some officers work more than their max of 64 hours a week. In other cases, officers have been paid twice for the same overtime work.

An SPD representative at Wednesday's meeting suggested a "more accurate" budget -- possibly bigger -- would help the overtime problems. But Councilmember Tim Burgess wasn't buying that.

Burgess: "I think first we need to see that we're confident that they are managing the funds that they are allocated before we have a discussion of increasing that amount."

The Council committee passed a resolution asking SPD for overtime progress updates now until the end of 2017.