TAXPAYER SAVINGS: Pasco Police slash overtime costs

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- KEPR Action News learned Tri-Cities police departments are poised to spend much less of your money this year.

Police work is not a nine-to-five job. Every hour, every minute, every second of the day is prime time for criminals and the police trying to haul them to justice.

Overtime for police is inevitable, but KEPR discovered far fewer of our officers are logging extra hours on the clock with your tax dollars.

Officer overtime is down substantially in Pasco, Richland, and West Richland this year. At the same time, it's remained the same in Kennewick.

A chunk of that OT happens inside the police station. Even though a crime may happen in your neighborhood, it's the tip of the iceberg. In fact, more than half of all OT cases happen during the investigation stage of a crime.

Police in Richland and West Richland credit the drop with fewer court cases and drawn out investigations, all while Pasco's success stems from a change in officer's schedules. Last year the department began using a four-tens system, where police would be on duty for longer hours, but fewer days overall. Since then, the amount of OT incurred by police has gone down 25%, meaning a saving of $50,000.

And if you think it means fewer officers on the streets, than think again. The four-tens system has allowed the department to overlap shifts, so there are just as many officers on patrol than before.

"When the calls for service are up and we need more officers, we're able to deploy two shifts at one time," says Capt. Ken Roske, Pasco Police.

The job of fighting crime will never be as timely as administrators would like, but by simply switching officer's schedules, Pasco police are fighting crime, while saving your money.