How Much Overtime is There in Detroit?

A suspicious amount

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the comments of Sgt. Michael Woody, the spokesman for the Detroit Police Department. Woody contacted Michigan Capitol Confidential after this story had been published.

A series of Detroit News reports on an internal investigation by the Detroit Police Department on allegations of overtime abuse began last November with a look at the homicide department before moving on to other departments. The newspaper reported that prosecutors filed criminal charges against Sgt. Myron Weathers in May of this year, asserting that he falsified overtime claims. The newspaper reported that Weathers was accused of submitting 29 fraudulent reports related to court appearances.

The Detroit News also reported in 2014 on a dispute involving Lt. Joseph Tiseo, police detective Brandon Smith and Deputy Chief David LeValley. Tiseo had reported Smith for allegedly falsely reporting how many hours he worked. LeValley is Smith’s stepbrother. Tiseo then claimed that LeValley was “besmirching” his reputation after he reported the deputy chief’s stepbrother.

ForTheRecord says: As part of a separate investigation, Michigan Capitol Confidential obtained documents listing the salaries and hours of every police department employee.

According to city records, Smith worked 4,121 hours in the 2014-15 fiscal year while Weathers worked 3,957 hours. If those numbers are true, that would be 79 hours and 76 hours per week for Smith and Weathers, respectively — and no vacation time for either.

But these two employees don't come close to leading the department in hours worked. There were 529 employees who reported being on the job for more than 4,000 hours last year, out of a department that has 2,609 people on its payroll. There were 48 Detroit cops who reported having worked 5,000 or more hours in 2014-15. By way of comparison, there are 2,080 hours in the year in a 40-hour workweek and 3,640 hours in a year with a 70-hour work week.

Sgt. Michael Woody, spokesman for the Detroit Police Department, said after this story had been published that the city has an antiquated way of tracking the amount of hours employees in the police department work. He said the "FY gross hours" worked wasn't "straight hours" but included overtime hours factored by a 1.5 multiplier. Woody said that 8 hours of overtime would translate to 12 hours of "gross hours" worked.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.