Officers One and Two immediately team
up and head for a donut shop located
directly across the street from a
nightclub.  Officers One and Two will
spend their entire shift between the
donut shop and the nightclub making
certain no pretty women become robbery
victims while Officer One's originally
designated area of patrol goes unmanned.

Officer Three will spend most of her shift
sitting in her personal car studying for an
upcoming exam for a college course she's
taking.  Between chapters, she'll be on
her cell phone checking in with the

Officer Four will spend much of his shift
sitting in the back room of the
Seven-Eleven watching the Lifetime
Channel.  But... Officer Five will be the
worst.  He'll simply go home for a late
dinner and nap before returning to end
his shift.

While the above examples may seem
extreme, it's not as though they don't
happen.  While the first four officers are
clearly under performing, they're at least
present.  Officer Five, on the other hand,
is simply a thief!  While the first four
officers could be charged administratively
for failing to properly perform their
duties, Officer Five can, and should, be
charged criminally for theft of the amount
of money paid to him during his period of

If you ever find yourself performing
duties during special overtime
assignments, just remember that you're
a police officer.  Some assignment duties
may be very specific while others will be
general in nature as in the example
cited.  Whatever the circumstances may
be, you're being paid -- at a higher rate
-- to perform the duties for which you're

Always remember that abuse of overtime
is corruption.  While poor oversight and
supervision of overtime usage is nearly
always the primary catalyst for overtime
abuse, it is the end result that lands
police officers in trouble.  Corruption
investigations into overtime abuse
frequently result in police officers being
indicted and charged criminally for theft.

Overtime is one great benefit, and you
have it totally within your power to earn
that money honestly and
Believe it or not, there was a time when
police officers were treated much
differently from everyone else when it
came to overtime pay.  Thankfully, those
days are gone, and you'll enjoy the same
access to overtime pay, at time and a
half, just like people in other occupations
and professions.
Up to now, it all sounds pretty good;
however, what management usually
neglects when making such deployments
is supervision.  They'll pay ten police
officers at time and a half for eight hours,
but they'll be too cheap to pay a
sergeant time and a half to supervise
those ten police officers.  Supervision
isn't completely neglected...the sergeant
in whose area the deployment occurs will
probably be told to supervise the

Of course, that sergeant who's
designated has just doubled his or her
span of control.  The simple truth is, that
deployment will receive very little, if any,
effective supervision.  To alleviate the
need to use on duty officers to transport
the deployment's officers, the overtime
officers are allowed to take their personal
vehicles to their area of patrol.
"While poor oversight and supervision
of overtime usage is nearly always the
primary catalyst for overtime abuse, it
is the end result that lands police
officers in trouble." ~ Barry M. Baker
Daily overtime may well be available for
special patrol and enforcement
operations.  Sports activities,
demonstrations, and other large social
gatherings frequently provide the need
for police officers to work on overtime.  
You could join a police department where
all these activities are frequent and
numerous, and your opportunities to
earn additional income can be very

If you do find yourself in a police
department where the availability of daily
overtime is plentiful, your good fortune
could quickly turn painful if you do not
meet the requirements of your overtime
assignments.  Whenever anything
becomes plentiful and routine,
supervision and other safeguards and
oversight often become lacking. Whether
supervision is lacking or not, it will always
be your sole responsibility to perform
your duties properly.  Your department
will have written directives regarding
overtime, and you should make yourself
familiar with your responsibilities under
those directives.

A police department is experiencing a
spike in street robberies in a particular
area of the city.  Overtime funds are
available to place extra patrols in the
area.  It has been decided to place police
officers on foot patrol since the area is
not that large, and the effectiveness of
foot patrol is a proven tactic.

The ten officer deployment will literally
saturate the area.  Besides presenting a
deterrent presence, the large deployment
will ensure a rapid response to any
robbery reported.
The amount of overtime available to you
will depend on a number of factors.  If
you join a police department which is well
staffed, is not experiencing a significant
crime problem, and it is fiscally
responsible, your overtime will be limited.  
Conversely, if your department is short
on police officers, crime is running
rampant, and its fiscal management
resembles its people management, you
could have as much overtime as you can
handle.  Of course, the health of the
general economy has a lot to do with the
use of overtime.  When revenue is
coming in, politicians are quick to throw
money at crime problems.

Your overtime pay will fall into two

Court Overtime and Daily Overtime

As a police officer, you'll be making
arrests, and those arrests will result in
court appearances.  At those times you
appear for court when you're not working
your regular tour of duty, you'll be
entitled to overtime pay.  Depending on
the police department and labor
agreements, you'll receive a minimum
compensation probably between two and
four hours at time and a half.  When
your court appearance exceeds the
minimum, your overtime will be calculated
by some agreed formula if the
appearance continues in less than one
hour increments.

Police departments are always trying to
formulate a system where all, or most, of
your court appearances will occur when
you're working your regular tour of
duty.  In a jurisdiction where the police
department is small, and the court
docket is light, this is not an impossible
task.  However, the bigger everything
gets, the more difficult this goal
becomes.  Courts usually do everything
on their own schedule with little regard
for the wishes of a police department.

Your police department may have
different designations for different
overtime activities, but I'll refer to all
overtime other than court overtime as
daily overtime.  Your daily overtime will
probably follow a standard calculating
process minus any minimum.  In other
words, if you work twenty minutes past
your regular tour of duty, your
compensation will be based only on that
twenty minutes.

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