SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — As Sacramento City Council members get ready to discuss the city’s budget for the upcoming year on Tuesday, newly released numbers from the Sacramento Police Department on how much they spend on overtime is causing some concern in the community and city council.
In the last two years the Sacramento Police Department has spent close to $30 million on overtime and so far this year, close to $5 million.
“Wow. That’s a lot of money,” said Sacramento District 4 Councilmember Katie Valenzuela, District 4.
“It worries me. It frightens me,” said Sacramento business owner and resident Maisha Bahati.
In comparison, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office spent a little more than half the police department in the same amount of time.
Valenzuela says this is a problem.
“Clearly we are not addressing a root problem, which is how our officers are spending their time, and whether we are budgeting appropriately and staffing the city appropriately as a whole,” Valenzuela told FOX40.
Bahati says she feels her money is not being used appropriately.
“You could hire more officers, quality training, with $12 to $15 million that they’re spending on overtime,” Bahati said.
Tim Davis with the Sacramento Police Officers Association told FOX40 he agrees that the numbers are high, and he expected to see a spike in 2020 because of all the protests within the city.
He says there is a main reason why the department is paying so much overtime.
“We’re very understaffed especially in our patrol division, which means everyday we’re having people work overtime to fill the vacancies in that division,” Davis explained.
“I don’t want to be in a situation where I have to wait If I am in a situation where I need police,” Bahati said.
Valenzuela says the problem can be traced back to the needs of the community.
“Increase funding for the community response. Increase funding for youth. Increase funding for all sorts of things that I believe will help reduce the pull on police resources and help redirect those resources to more preventative community enhancement activities,” Valenzuela said.
Sacramento City Manager Howard Chan has proposed a $1.3 billion budget that will be discussed on Tuesday.
About $4.2 million of that proposed budget will go to the police department but will cover body cameras and equipment costs.
Valenzuela says she will bring up the overtime issue during the meeting.