The overtime game

By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  May 4, 2006

The extraordinary amounts of court overtime also raise the question of whether it affects the investigation of cases. With their huge caseloads, homicide detectives are already under intense pressure to solve cases quickly, some prosecutors say. That pressure could be exacerbated if they are trying to maximize their time in court to earn overtime. On March 19, 2001, detective Daniel Keeler submitted slips for court overtime on one murder case; that evening, on his regular shift, he investigated a murder in East Boston. He quickly fingered the victim’s brother, who stood accused of the crime until someone else admitted to it three years later.

Clearly, O’Toole has taken a stronger attitude toward monitoring overtime abuse, even at the risk of incurring the wrath of the powerful police union. The BPD began auditing overtime last September, and it has recently disciplined dozens of officers for working more than the regulated maximum of 96 hours in a week, or 320 hours in a month.

But at the same time, O’Toole has repeatedly defended the homicide unit and its command, from Daniel Coleman up to Paul Joyce, even as she gets less and less out of more and more money.

On the Web
Boston Police Department 2004 annual report (most recent available):  http://www.cityofboston.gov/police/pdfs/2004ANNUAL_REPORT.pdf
Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society: http://www.bpdbs.com/index.asp 
Boston Police Patrolmen's Association: http://www.bppa.org/ 
2005 Boston crime statistics: http://www.cityofboston.gov/police/pdfs/Dec05.pdf

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