MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Protests, officer shortages, and soaring crime in Memphis have stretched the overtime budget for Memphis police. Tuesday, Director Mike Rallings told city council members the department is expected to spend $27 million in overtime this year.
Rallings said the department is facing multiple obstacles, but despite that, MPD would be right on budget.
"Managing turmoil takes innovation," said Rallings. "As you lose staffing, you are paying individuals time and a half to do a job that a normal full-time employee would be doing at normal pay."
The police director says the department is seeing an overtime deficit of $10.9 million because of the lack of 334 officers.
The MPD overtime budget includes $16.3 million already for overtime, bringing projected spending to $27.2 million.
"It is huge," said council member Martavius Jones, in reaction to the figure.
Rallings said the department was covering the overtime overspending with about $8 million in salary savings from the manpower shortage, along with other savings.
"That's a pretty significant shortfall," said council member Worth Morgan.
MPD is testing out a 10-hour shift that replaces two shifts at Old Allen and Raines precincts to try and cut down overtime.
Rallings said as more recruits join the force, overtime will naturally decrease.
"That's our challenge to address the crime that we have with the resources," he said.
MPD spent $1.2 million last July on the bridge protest and stepped up security for officers in light of national attacks on police during that time. They've spend $75,000 on other Memphis protests since then.