Less crime means less police overtime

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- Crime doesn't follow a strict schedule, so local police officers can't either.

Overtime might be inevitable for the men and women patrolling our streets, but that doesn't mean it can't be reduced. KEPR discovered far fewer of our officers are logging extra hours on the clock with your tax dollars.

Officer overtime has fallen for three straight years in Kennewick and Pasco. At the same time, it's remained unchanged in Richland.

Much of the success stems from one simple fact: less crime. Last year, there were 400 fewer crimes in both Kennewick and Richland, meaning police officers don't have a need to go over the clock.

In Kennewick's case, police have also been known to shuffle the deck. By putting the most experienced people in key positions, investigations can be done more quickly. Police say they always work to actively manage crime and the budget.

Tthere's not an unlimited pot of money," says Sgt. Ken Latin, Kennewick Police. "We can't just print money.... we gotta work within our budget."

Pasco's success stems from a change in officer's schedules. As KEPR told you last fall, the department began using a four-tens system -- where police would be on duty for longer hours, but fewer days, causing OT to go down.