Police overtime spikes in wake of homicides

Halifax Regional Police department has spent almost all of its overtime budget in the first two quarters of the fiscal year.

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The police department has blown through nearly its entire overtime budget in the first two quarters of the fiscal year.

Halifax Regional Police (HRP) confirm $2.25 million has been spent on overtime between April and October of this year. That leaves less than half a million in the department’s $2.7 million budget for the next six months.

A not-insignificant portion of that cost can be attributed to the nine homicides the city has seen since April 1.

“Complex criminal investigations (e.g. homicides) are a significant driver of our overtime budget,” writes spokesperson Theresa Rath Spicer in an emailed statement, “as is staffing in Patrol, Integrated Emergency Services and our Prisoner Care Facility.”

Overtime costs for the six homicides investigations that took place during the first two quarters of 2016 came out to $636,500. The police department couldn’t provide overtime costs related to HRM’s most recent homicide cases—Shakur Jeffferies, Terrence Izzard and Tyler Keizer—as that paperwork is still being processed.

As a result, Halifax police are forecasting a $1.3-million increase in overtime spending for the remainder of the fiscal year. In 2015/16, HRP ended up spending $3.5 million on overtime—$900,000 more than what was budgeted for the year.

Overall the department is now facing a projected $869,000 net deficit going into 2017. More information can be found in the fiscal update being presented to HRM’s Audit and Finance Committee on Wednesday morning.

Rath Spicer stresses that all budget forecasts are still subject to change as the year progresses.

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