Read the full piece in New York Focus
Officer Andrew Rigel worked more overtime than anyone else in the New York City Police Department last fiscal year: 2,002 extra hours, akin to nearly 79-hour work weeks.
Though exceptional, he was hardly alone. Rigel was the leader of a high-earning pack: The NYPD Transit Bureau’s canine unit, which patrols the subways with bomb-sniffing dogs, contained the police force’s top nine active over-workers. Rigel and eight peers pulled in an average of 1,700 bonus hours in fiscal year 2022 — up 67 percent from 2021 and 35 percent from 2020. Altogether, Transit’s 45 active dog wranglers cost the city about $2.3 million in overtime.
The canine cops are among the top earners in a recent NYPD overtime boon. Between June 2021 and June 2022, the department hit its second-highest recorded level of overtime by uniformed officers — $762 million — overshooting its budget by more than $100 million. Despite this rampant overspending, the public often doesn’t know where the money goes.
City budget reports break the numbers down by which office appropriates overtime spending, rather than which units actually spend it. But a New York Focus analysis sheds new light. Using an open-source program published by citizen watchdog Eric Spishak-Thomas, New York Focus merged city Office of Payroll Administration numbers with a snapshot of the NYPD’s officer profiles. The resulting data set — which doesn’t include cops who left the force between June 2021 and late October — offers a near-complete breakdown of uniformed overtime spending by unit and individual officer.
The numbers reveal the NYPD’s most frequent overtimers: subway cops, a notorious “goon squad,” surveillance units, and drug police, among others.
The data also offer insight into the financial burden Mayor Eric Adams’s many policing initiatives are taking on city coffers. Before becoming mayor in January, Adams committed to halving NYPD overtime by the end of his first year in office. But instead of taking care of the overtime problem, the mayor’s attempts to address subway safety concerns, homelessness, and gun violence with more policing are almost certainly contributing to it.
“The amount of leeway that the NYPD is given to go over their overtime budget is pretty extraordinary,” said Ileana Méndez-Peñate, program director for Communities United for Police Reform. “It’s a prime example of NYPD budget bloat.”
The mayor’s office did not respond to New York Focus’s emails. In response to specific questions, an NYPD spokesperson sent a general statement, asserting that overtime “is instrumental in addressing crime trends, conducting investigations, and deploying enhanced resources to critical areas, including transit.”