A state audit of the Baltimore Police Department found that over the course of a year and a half, the department racked up more than $66 million in overtime wages because of a lack of supervisor oversight “at all levels” and a failure to enforce the department’s own policies.

The audit released Monday from the Office of Legislative Audits, a nonpartisan state financial watchdog agency, reflects an 18-month period from December 2020 to June 2022. In a statement, a BPD spokesperson said the department “has made much progress over the last three years to create a system of accountability and oversight.”

In that time, overtime payments clocked in at around $66 million while the payroll budget for fiscal year 2022 was $425.3 million.

Supervisors at all levels failed to enforce overtime policies, according to the audit, including a rule that officers don’t work more than 32 hours of voluntary overtime.

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That particular rule was broken nearly 700 times by more than 268 individuals throughout the 2022 fiscal year. BPD was not conducting the required reviews to make sure officers were not violating the policy, nor did they conduct their own quarterly audits as required by their rules.

In one analysis, the audit found 100 officers who logged more than 1,000 overtime hours. Seven officers made $100,000 in overtime compensation alone.

The audit also revealed that at the time, BPD did not have procedures to analyze potential excessive overtime “incurred to and by certain officers.”

The Office of Legislative Audits went back to 2015 to do a closer analysis on 10 officers who reaped the most overtime in FY 2022. Seven of those officers doubled their yearly base salaries three times over that eight-year period. There were two officers who doubled their base salaries each year during all eight years.

Baltimore Police are far from alone when it comes to officers working overtime hours. Departments across the country have reported using overtime in the last few years to fill increasing rates of vacant positions on their force.

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From 2018-2022, vacancies at BPD increased while overtime expenditures from 2018-2022 as a whole decreased.

The report doesn’t capture the full reality of challenges in that moment, including COVID-19 and the transition to a new payroll/HR system, said BPD spokesperson Lindsey Eldridge.

The audit began while the department was transitioning to its current system and getting up to speed with deployment, training, and stabilizing the program, Eldridge said.

“The payroll system in use prior to the current system of record had multiple inherent weaknesses that allowed for employee abuse of time entry, leave tracking and overtime documentation,” Eldridge said in the statement.

She also noted that in the current system there have been “no weaknesses of … internal controls and the policy changes around time tracking and overtime processes.”

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The department agreed with the report’s findings and said they are already working on ways to surveil and stop overtime abuse, including additional training on payroll compliance, mandatory training for repeat noncompliant offenders and regular internal audits of overtime activity.

This is the first audit of the Police Department since voters approved a 2022 ballot that would bring the police under full control of the city government, colloquially referred to as “local control.”

WYPR is a media partner of The Baltimore Banner.