AUDIT: State police working dangerous amounts of overtime
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WFSB) - Overtime spending is up in state government.
A new audit shows overtime is up close to 8 million from last year, an 11% increase in a three month period.
That same audit found that state police troopers are working lots of hours.
A cause of this is a shortage of state police troopers.
At one time, it was mandated that Connecticut have 1,248 state troopers. Governor Malloy did away with that mandate and that number has now dropped to under 900.
Some of this has to do with retirements. State police had 172 retirements in a year’s period.
Training is also a lengthy process for new recruits. It takes about a year of training before a new recruit can become a state trooper.
“The goal is to get it over 1000 as soon as possible. It’s probably going to take 6-months to a year to bring that many people on board. But that’s the goal but I think the commissioner is trying the best determine how to allocate the resources they do have,” said Mike Lawlor, Criminal Justice Professor, University of New Haven.
Because of the shortage, some troopers are working a lot of overtime. State auditors say this raises concerns and that troopers may be overworked.
“There’s been an ongoing problem with recruiting and retaining state troopers, and I think the issue we looked at here is that not only is there a cost, but it’s a cost in terms of their health and well being and public safety. So we’re concerned people are out there working too long,” said John Geragosian, State Auditor.
Even though overtime is costly, it is actually cheaper than replacing every trooper because salaries and benefits cost more.
28 new state troopers came on board in October.
State police are hoping to hire at least 100 more troopers and the open enrollment has been extended until December 5.
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