The New York City Police Department spent a record-breaking $837 million in overtime pay for officers last year, even as murders in the city soared.
That figure accounted for 45% of New York City’s total overtime across all city departments. The NYPD has also far outspent other major cities like Los Angeles and Austin on police overtime pay over the last 10 years, according to Bloomberg, which cited city budget data.
By comparison, NYPD spent $724 million in overtime in fiscal 2019, $583 million in fiscal 2014, and $426 million in fiscal 2007.
The apparent increase in overtime pay last year came amid nationwide calls for police departments to slash their budgets following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May 2020.
Consequently, many departments were spread thin as officers quit in droves and those that remained were spread thin responding to nationwide protests against police misconduct.
An NYPD spokesperson said the department "manages its overtime to ensure it is utilized in a manner that continues to prioritize public safety."
"There are routine fluctuations in the amount of resources available over time and adjustments are made accordingly," she said in a statement provided to FOX Business. "The department has recently received a significant reduction to its overtime allocation as reflected in the adopted budget."
She noted that arrest-related overtime expenditures have declined steadily over the past decade.
The city has significantly reduced its overtime budget as part of an agreement to cut NYPD's budget. The department's overtime budget is $254 million and $486 million for fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2022, respectively.
Data from the NYPD show there were nearly 470 murders in 2020, up from 320 the year prior. Robberies, misdemeanors and felony property crimes have dropped.
Proponents, like former New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, argue that overtime pay is necessary to respond to fast-changing staffing needs.
Others argue that the money being spent on overtime pay would be better spent on education and other public services in low-income areas.
"We need a community center, we need a place for our kids to go play and be safe, we need affordable housing, we need jobs," Michelle Neugebauer, who runs a nonprofit in Brooklyn that provides affordable housing, after-school services and job training told Bloomberg. "That’s where the investments need to go."