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Anaheim police overtime $1.7 million during street protests

Anaheim police spent $1.7 million on OT during street protests
The Anaheim Police Department spent $1.7 million on overtime during a single four-week period covering sometimes violent street protests that erupted over the summer after two fatal police shootings.

The overtime bill for the August pay period was 308% higher than the previous month. On average, the department spent $540,033 per month in overtime in the 2011-12 fiscal year, said police Sgt. Bob Dunn.

The protests and marches were ignited when police shot two Latino men to death in late July. As many as 1,000 demonstrators jammed the streets, trash bins were set on fire, store windows smashed and a clothing shop was looted.

The 24,291 hours of overtime ate up one-quarter of the department’s allotment for the year, Dunn said.

In response to the unrest, the department deployed SWAT officers, mounted patrols and additional patrols. It is too early in the fiscal year to tell whether the increase in overtime will have an effect on the department or the city, Dunn said. The fiscal year began July 1.

“It’s something we will be monitoring,” Dunn said.

The department, which has a budget of nearly $115 million, recently lifted a years-long hiring freeze.

Dunn could not point to another recent event that has generated as much overtime. “We don’t have another month that’s comparable because these things don’t happen,” he said.

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait said the overtime is a very small portion of the city budget, which is about $240 million. The city has about $20 million set aside in reserves. Anaheim is the ninth-largest city in California, with nearly 350,000 residents.

"That's the type of thing that reserves are for," he said, "for unplanned situations."

According to the city budget, the department employs 536 sworn and civilian employees.

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-- Nicole Santa Cruz

Photo: Police in riot gear in Anaheim earlier this summer. Credit: Los Angeles Times.

 
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