CPD BUD­GET BLUES

Po­lice force spent $47M-plus on over­time in June amid civil un­rest and sky­rock­et­ing gun vi­o­lence, nearly ex­haust­ing its en­tire 2020 OT al­lot­ment in just six months

Chicago Sun-Times - - FRONT PAGE - BY FRAN SPIELMAN, CITY HALL RE­PORTER fspiel­man@sun­times.com | @fspiel­man

The Chicago Po­lice De­part­ment spent more than $47.1 mil­lion on over­time in June as mur­ders and shoot­ings sky­rock­eted and demon­stra­tions after the death of Ge­orge Floyd de­volved into loot­ing and may­hem.

June over­time costs, re­leased to the Chicago Sun-Times in re­sponse to a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest, nearly dou­bled the $24.1 mil­lion spent dur­ing the same pe­riod a year ago.

It means CPD has spent $84.3 mil­lion and nearly used up its over­time bud­get for 2020 dur­ing the first six months of the year.

Under pres­sure from Mayor Lori Light­foot to re­duce po­lice over­time that bal­looned to $139.5 mil­lion last year, Po­lice Supt. David Brown or­dered all over­time to be ap­proved by deputy chiefs and above. It was one of his first of­fi­cial moves as su­per­in­ten­dent.

Me­mo­rial Day weekend turned into a blood­bath with 10 peo­ple killed and 39 oth­ers shot and wounded.

When it was over, Ald. Chris Tali­a­ferro (29th), chair­man of the City Coun­cil’s Com­mit­tee

on Pub­lic Safety, com­plained Brown had failed his first ma­jor test as su­per­in­ten­dent be­cause he was more con­cerned with cut­ting over­time than fight­ing vi­o­lence.

Tali­a­ferro claimed there were “hun­dreds” fewer of­fi­cers on the street when there should have been at least as many as last year, maybe more, to “sat­u­rate” South and West Side po­lice dis­tricts plagued by gang and gun vi­o­lence.

Four days later, demon­stra­tions over Floyd’s death turned ugly, prompt­ing Light­foot to in­voke a 9 p.m. cur­few.

The next day, po­lice of­fi­cers’ days off were can­celed. Bridges were raised, seal­ing off down­town with down­town ex­press­way ramp clo­sures en­forced by the Na­tional Guard. That prompted loot­ing and may­hem to spread into South and West Side neigh­bor­hoods.

The over­time edict was out the win­dow; po­lice of­fi­cers were re­quired to work 12-hour days for weeks on end.

The June fig­ure cov­ers the last two weeks of May and the first two weeks of June. That means over­time in the July report, cov­er­ing the last two weeks of June and the July Fourth weekend, could be even worse.

“Nor­mally, we have a higher over­time for Me­mo­rial Day. And that level con­tin­ued with the Ge­orge Floyd protests and then the fol­low­ing week with an­other week of protests and with the loot­ing and ev­ery­thing that was going on,” Bud­get Di­rec­tor Susie Park told the Sun­Times.

“This is some­thing that we could not con­trol. … New York’s over­time for that pe­riod was quadru­ple, I think. A lot of other cities dur­ing the protests that hap­pened prob­a­bly had sim­i­lar po­lice over­time costs.”

The stay-at-home shut­down trig­gered by the coro­n­avirus has blown a $700 mil­lion hole in Light­foot’s pre­car­i­ously bal­anced 2020 bud­get.

Park re­fused to say whether the sky-high po­lice over­time for the month of June would ex­ac­er­bate bud­get strug­gles.

She would only say city bud­get of­fi­cials would “do the best we can for the rest of the year” to con­trol the more rou­tine forms of po­lice over­time. She noted over­time spend­ing dur­ing the month of May was $4.3 mil­lion, less than half of what it was dur­ing the same pe­riod a year ago.

Fra­ter­nal Order of Po­lice Pres­i­dent John Catan­zara called the $47.1 mil­lion in over­time spend­ing for the month of June a recipe for of­fi­cer burnout.

“You had three weeks of can­celed days off. You’re pay­ing a lot of peo­ple a lot of money. They’re gonna do it again on La­bor Day. Yet again, can­cel both days off. This pro­fes­sion has turned into a job that most peo­ple don’t want,” Catan­zara said.

“And they want to talk about of­fi­cer well­ness? Who the hell can have any sane fam­ily life when you can’t even have a hol­i­day off after 30 years on this job?”

Catan­zara said the sad­dest part of the over­time spend­ing is that Chicago has lit­tle to show for it.

On May 30, six peo­ple were killed. Over a 24-hour pe­riod on May 31, 18 more peo­ple were killed. It was Chicago’s dead­li­est day in at least 30 years.

“You’re not en­forc­ing any laws. All you’re do­ing is putting bod­ies out there,” he said.

SUN-TIMES FILE PHOTO

Chicago po­lice stand in a road­block out­side CPD head­quar­ters at the in­ter­sec­tion of 35th Street and Michi­gan Av­enue dur­ing a re­cent demon­stra­tion.

ASHLEE REZIN GAR­CIA/SUN-TIMES FILES

Chicago po­lice of­fi­cers face off with hun­dreds of pro­test­ers on June 1 out­side a store that had been looted near East 71st Street and South Av­enue in the South Shore neigh­bor­hood.

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