A lawsuit by a former homicide detective at the Detroit Police Department (DPD) alleging retaliation for blowing the whistle on overtime abuse has sparked a wider investigation into pay fraud at the DPD. The Detroit News reports:
The internal investigation was launched last month after allegations surfaced of overtime abuse in the Homicide Unit, according to information obtained by The Detroit News and confirmed by Police Chief James Craig.
The charges included officers allegedly filing for overtime they didn't work and writing up false subpoenas to appear in court so they could collect extra pay.
The probe recently expanded into other units, Craig confirmed, including Sex Crimes and the former Narcotics Section, which was disbanded this summer amid another internal probe of alleged wrongdoing.
It's unclear how widespread the fraud is yet, or, for that matter, just how much police overtime costs the city of Detroit, mired in a budget crisis for years. That's because, according to the Detroit police union's attorney, the department keeps poor records on overtime. Michigan Capitol Confidential reported in 2012 that as other departments faced decreases in pay of $15.3 million, cops and firefighters saw a $13.3 million increase, even while the city saw a drop in full-time "public protection" employees.
Pension costs for police and fire union employees jumped $60.4 million in 2011 compared to the previous year, according to city documents. The increase was mainly due to higher contribution rates by the city due to poor market performance of pension fund assets, the report said.
The city's report on overall salaries and wages includes overtime. Police and fire departments traditionally have triggered large amounts of overtime during staff reductions, although it is unclear if that is what happened in Detroit.
It's becoming clearer.
Reason on Detroit.