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How Oakland Cops Gamed the System To Earn $30 Million in Overtime Pay

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When Oakland, California, police officers are needed at Golden State Warriors basketball games and other special events, Malcolm Miller is the officer in charge of making those assignments. Often, he assigns himself.

As a result, Miller has become one of the highest paid officers in the department. He's earned nearly $2.5 million over the past five years—most of it overtime pay—according to data collected by Transparent California, a watchdog group. Is he abusing his position to cash in, or is he filling important assignments that no one else wants? The answer is unknown, a new audit of the Oakland Police Department claims, because "the special event planning and staffing process is not documented and management provides limited oversight" even though those special events account for 42 percent of overtime hours worked last year.


Perhaps the most stunning part of the audit is the explanation of a department-wide policy that allows Oakland cops to accrue 1.5 hours of "comp time" for every hour of overtime worked. When an officer cashes in that comp time and isn't working, other officers have to work overtime to fill the gap. That creates a cascade of additional overtime pay—10 hours of overtime creates 15 hours of comp time, which some other cop has to work, earning 22.5 hours of comp time (if they're also working overtime), and so on.


OaklandPoliceAudit.jpg Source: Oakland City Auditor, https://www.oaklandauditor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/20190610_Performance-Audit_OPD-Overtime_Report.pdf

The East Bay Times notes that overtime pay has been an ongoing issue for the Oakland Police Department. After earlier audits revealed similar problems with excessive overtime work and pay, the department hired 87 additional officers and abolished a rule requiring that officers do overtime work.

But the audit makes clear that systemic issues remain unaddressed—and cops like Miller continue to take advantage. "The City has not addressed any of the questionable compensation practices identified" in a 2015 audit, according to the new audit.

And what about that one police captain who tracked his unit's overtime pay with a spreadsheet?

"The tool was never adopted by other organizational units," the audit reports, "and is no longer being utilized by the captain due to time constraints."

A couple things here.   1. Can't the Golden State Warrior pay for their own security?  and 2.  Do all government employees get both overtime pay and comp time for the same work? That’s just crazy.  As one of the comments to this article state:  "That’s basically saying that every overtime hour costs the department 3x the cop’s base pay. And that’s before the cascading effect mentioned in the article."

  • Disdain 1

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