Operating a city run taxpayer funded department with a seemingly blank check.
That's the claim Baltimore City Council is pressing against the Baltimore City Police Department.
In August the council will start monthly reviews of the police departments funds.
The police department gets more than others in the city and is budgeted for over half a billion dollars.
Councilman Leon Pinkett III said the city can’t continue to operate a budget committing so much to the department’s overtime.
“With this anticipation at the end of the year of having to give an additional $20 million a year,” Pinkett said. “Those are resources we need to be going to other activities, other programs, other efforts throughout the city.”
Recruiting, staffing, and patrolling contribute to the overtime issue.
After the first quarter in 2018 Pinkett says the department is already $17 million over because of overtime.
He said that makes it already too late to make recommendations or implement strategies to even address overtime.
“We’ve got to pick up this stuff a lot earlier,” said Pinkett. “We got to understand what the projections are saying and they we’ve got to institute milestones to really address where we’re going and how we arrest this problem that we’re just kicking down the road.”
The measure passed Monday means the council will monitor and assess the police department's budget every month.
Councilman Brandon Scott said the move isn't trying to hurt the officer’s paychecks.
“Our police officers are telling me their tired and it’s not safe for them, but also people need to understand this is about fiscal responsibility for the city,” Scott said. “This isn’t anti police this anti misuse of tax payer dollars. We just want the police department to operate in a way that is not consistent with going over the budget. We want to support them doing their job that’s why we’re pushing for them to do things in a more efficient and effective manner.”
The monthly monitoring will start in august.
Scott is also pushing for more use of technology to do some of the work for officers by using online and phone reporting for minor crimes so patrol officers can patrol.