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Chicago Police set record for overtime in 2023, and trend is continuing this year

Chicago Police overtime hours hit record last year, trend is continuing
Chicago Police overtime hours hit record last year, trend is continuing 03:18

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Last year set records for the number of overtime hours worked by Chicago Police officers – and that trend is continuing this year, with the summer just getting started.

There are also additional needs this year with months of massive events on the schedule, notably including the Democratic National Convention in August.

Between last year's 52nd annual Pride Parade, the NASCAR Cup Series race downtown, the four-day Lollapalooza Music Festival, and a year's worth of other commitments for Chicago Police, officers clocked in 4,151,294 hours of overtime in 2023, according to a CBS News Data Team analysis.

This cost taxpayers nearly $300 million.

This figure was a massive jump from years prior, which averaged somewhere around 1.4 million hours of overtime every year. (Note in the graph below that data were not available for October, November, and December 2022.)


"They are people. They need proper rest," said now-retired Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Eugene Roy.

Roy knows the OT fatigue well, given his history with the department.

"You have to take a look at the at the bottom-line numbers that are driving this, and it's police manpower," Roy said.

Chicago Police did not comment on the numbers specifically when we asked, instead saying in a statement:

"The Chicago Police Department takes its fiscal responsibility seriously and regularly reviews internal operations to ensure the overtime budget is used efficiently and effectively.  

"Overtime has been used to help maintain public safety during a police officer shortage that has affected not only CPD, but major city police departments across the nation. As we work to fill these vacancies, we must also ensure there are sufficient resources citywide."

The CPD has recently said they are down about 2,000 officers. Experts, including Roy, said the added needs of the DNC this year will undoubtedly mean more OT.

"The basic function of the Chicago police department — patrolling and responding to calls for assistance from our residents, from our community — still has to be met," Roy said.

Chicago Police Supt. Larry Snelling also himself said longer hours and canceled days off can be expected for police during the convention.

"We're looking at extensions of working day hours and cancellations of days off during that week, to make sure to ensure that we have the manpower that we need," he said.

Snelling noted that the department will be "judicious" in how they use overtime - and give officers advanced notice. This is already happening, as seen in an internal email obtained by CBS 2 that informs officers they will have their days off canceled and may be on 12-hour shifts around the 4th of July.

"If the community or others are bothered because of the amount of money that's being spent, I think it's far more important to be proactive rather than reactive," said retired Los Angeles police sergeant and policing expert Cheryl Dorsey.

Dorsey said there are plenty of officers who welcome the extra overtime money. But she said making officers feel appreciated is the only way they're going to get staffing numbers up to where they should be.

"If shortage is the situation, and you're overworking the people that you have, then do a better job of recruiting," Dorsey said.

The City Council only set aside $100 million to cover the Chicago Police Department's overtime bill in the 2024 budget.

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