The Metropolitan Police Department is complying with a recent ruling that forces it to pay overtime to officers who worked extra shifts in 2009 as part of Chief Cathy L. Lanier’s signature crime-prevention initiative, All Hands on Deck.
The initiative will continue as the department identifies all officers who worked outside their regular tours of duty during two weekends in 2009. Those officers will be given overtime pay for the additional hours, department spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said Tuesday.
All Hands on Deck increases the number of officers on city streets for several days at a time by requiring all officers to work eight-hour shifts each day and reschedule their time off.
The Fraternal Order of Police filed a class-action grievance opposing the department’s use of AHOD in 2009, saying that it unfairly changes officers’ schedules without first negotiating with the union.
In August, when the city’s Public Employees Relations Board upheld a ruling requiring the overtime back pay, Chief Lanier said she would consult with the Office of the Attorney General on whether to appeal the decision.
The deadline for an appeal was earlier this month. Emboldened now that the deadline has come and gone without an appeal, the police union plans to file additional grievances against the use of the AHOD initiative during other years, said FOP Chairman Kristopher Baumann.
Chief Lanier started the crime-fighting initiative after she was sworn in as police chief in 2007 and has utilized the approach every year since.
“They’ve acknowledged they violated the contract and that they violated the law and the mismanagement is now costing the city’s taxpayers,” Mr. Baumann said.
Exactly how much it’s costing taxpayers is still up for debate.
While the union maintains that roughly $4.3 million is due in back pay for each of the nine AHOD weekends in 2009, the department says back pay is due for only two of the weekends. While Ms. Crump did not provide a dollar estimate of what the department may pay out, she said it will be “far less than the ‘multi-million dollar payment’ claimed by the FOP.”
As the union widens the scope of its attack on the AHOD initiative, Ms. Crump said the initiative will continue.
“The decision is limited to two 2009 AHODs and thus has no impact on any of the other AHODs,” she said. “As long as Chief Lanier feels that the AHODs are a valid crime-fighting tool, she will continue to use them.”
The next AHOD weekend is scheduled for Oct. 21 through 23.
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Andrea Noble is a crime and public safety reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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