New York City Department of Investigation report says NYPD overtime hours increase risk of dangerous situations
NEW YORK -- A new report from New York City's Department of Investigation found that NYPD overtime increases the risk of officers being involved in dangerous situations.
The report from the city's top watchdog says the day after an officer works the average amount of overtime -- about four straight hours -- they're 18% more likely to suffer a workplace injury, 20% more likely to be involved in an incident where force is used either by or against an officer, and 36% more likely to be the subject of a substantiated misconduct complaint.
"What we're saying is that relationship, that increase in risk, is really worthy of further study," said DOI Commissioner Jocelyn Strauber.
"What should the NYPD do to address this?" CBS2's Tim McNicholas asked.
"The first thing is to develop some policies that do limit overtime and that do address the risk of negative policing outcomes and fatigue," Strauber said.
The NYPD released the following statement in response:
"The police officers who serve the public and protect this city are the NYPD's most vital resource, and the department continually evaluates their safety and well-being. Overtime is a critical tool, and one that the NYPD manages daily to efficiently and effectively enhance deployments on the streets and subways, to investigate crimes, to address gun violence, and to otherwise pursue our public safety mission. The department is always looking for ways to improve policing and the well-being of officers, including proactively offering services to help officers address any hardships they may face and training peer-supporters who volunteer in every command. A new pilot offering 10- and 12-hour tours is designed, in part, to help officers construct work schedules that best serve a meaningful home-work balance. And a new overtime portal the NYPD has recently constructed is giving officers a hands-on digital tool for building an overtime schedule that best serves their needs and ensures they can plan for sufficient time off between tours. The NYPD thanks the DOI's Office of the Inspector General for its report, and will evaluate each of its recommendations. Yet we can never lose sight of the fact that more than 90% of officers never face formal discipline during their career; that police action lawsuits have significantly declined in recent years; and that the vast majority of active uniformed officers do not have a single substantiated CCRB complaint against them. As the challenging conditions that drive overtime expenditures persist, across all boroughs and bureaus of the NYPD, the department's dedicated ranks of officers are carrying out their duties with the highest degree of integrity, safety, professionalism, and success."
"In taking care of you, we recognize that you come to work and being told you have to stay extra hours is a hardship. You have families. You have things that matter in your lives you want to get back to," NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell tells officers in a video posted by the New York City Police Benevolent Association.
The new report studied about 900 officers from 2019 through 2021.
It also recommends the NYPD make policies to address fatigue and train officers how to recognize and mitigate fatigue.
Investigators also found, after officers work four hours overtime, "the odds they will be named in a lawsuit for an incident occurring the next day increase by 36.5%."
"So it's important, I think, both for our police officers and for the public community, the members of the public and the communities that they serve, that officers be sufficiently rested to do their jobs as well as they can," Strauber said.
In a statement, PBA President Pat Lynch said:
"Those who are harping on NYPD overtime are purposely ignoring history. The Department's current reliance on overtime is the product of decades of defunding that have steadily shrunk both the NYPD headcount and its overall share of the city budget. Meanwhile, New Yorkers demand for police services has only grown. The solution is to hire more cops, not to defund the NYPD even further."
Mayor Eric Adams sent CBS2 the following statement in response to the report:
"The responsible use of overtime for NYPD is necessary given the public safety challenges we face today. We have been and remain focused on ensuring overtime doesn't affect officer performance — balancing our city's public safety needs with officer health. With more than 1,000 uniformed vacancies at the NYPD, we continue to recruit aggressively for the finest police department in the world. Our administration will continue to focus on fair and effective policing — that's why the historic agreement announced with the PBA last month provides greater flexibility when it comes to officer shifts in an effort to increase staffing when needed and to minimize overtime when possible. As a former officer, I personally know the toll and stress longer shifts can have on those sworn to protect and serve. That's why I commend DOI for reviewing any area not typically reviewed in the past, and why we look forward to working with the NYPD to continue to keep New York City the safest big city in America."
for more features.