I-Team: Extra Protection - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

I-Team: Extra Protection

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Lt. Cory Reech Lt. Cory Reech
Cpl. Arthur Munoz Cpl. Arthur Munoz
Cpl. Mickey Duncan Cpl. Mickey Duncan
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

People depend on law enforcement officers to protect and serve but there is some concern that some cops the Capital City are working too much. Many of them work the extra hours to provide for their families, some more than others. The 9News I-Team obtained the overtime hours worked at the Baton Rouge Police Department and the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office.

The I-Team was there as a team of East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputies and Baton Rouge police officers were setting up a sobriety checkpoint. Most of them were working overtime. On that night, Lt. Cory Reech, Cpl. Arthur Munoz and Cpl. Mickey Duncan, all members of BRPD, were among a dozen officers working the sobriety checkpoint detail. They also rank in the top five officers on the police force who work the most overtime.

According to records the I-Team obtained, Reech made over $113,000 in 2012. His base pay was just under $60,000. His overtime for that year was over $53,000. He almost doubled his salary with overtime. To get there, he worked an average of 22 hours a week of overtime on top of his regular 40 hours. In the first half of 2013, working even more overtime, Reech was able to make 215 percent of his base salary in overtime. But, it took him an average of almost 53 hours a week in overtime to do it, which amounts to working almost 93 hours a week.

Munoz also racks in a lot of overtime. In 2012, he made over $122,000. That was 140 percent above his base salary. On average, he worked 34 hours a week in overtime. Add the standard 40 hours and it comes to a 74-hour work week. In the first half of 2013, Munoz made an additional 115 percent of his half-year salary working an average of 36 hours of overtime a week on top of his base hours. That's an average of about 76 total hours a week.

Duncan was also looked into. In 2012, he made over $116,000. He topped out at 132 percent of his base salary. On average, he worked 32 hours a week in overtime. Add 40 standard hours and that's an average of 72 total hours a week. In the first half of 2013, Duncan made 130 percent of his half-year base salary, which totaled over $55,000 working overtime. He's worked an average of 31 overtime hours a week, for an average a 71-hour work week.

Much of the overtime hours are funded through grants. However, those additional hours do not include private extra duty detail, such as working security at stores, meaning some officers could be working even more hours that are not reported by the department.

The findings were taken to Rafael Goyeneche, the president of the New Orleans Metropolitan Crime Commission. He is a former prosecutor who reviews community complaints involving law enforcement and government agencies. Goyeneche said most agencies limit their officers to between 20 to 30 hours of overtime a week and require them to get at least eight hours of sleep between shifts. He said anything more could become an issue of public safety.  

"It becomes even more acute when you carry a gun and you have to make life and death decisions in some instances," Goyeneche said.

Those concerns were taken to Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie.

"Do any of these figures surprise you?" he was asked. "They are shocking figures and when you look at it, you're going to get sticker shock from the numbers," he replied.

Dabadie said his officers are working those hours and getting the right amount of rest, including DUI Supervisor Lt. Reech. The chief added the Baton Rouge Police Department policy states, "Officers must take at least eight hours off between shifts." He said the commander in charge of the detail selects who will work the assignment, and the supervisors are responsible for making sure those working overtime are sharp and capable of effectively performing their duties.

"They're very hard workers, and that's why our DWI division leads the state in DWI arrests, because they are working hard," Dabadie explained.

"This is an unhealthy practice, I think, for any law enforcement agency and it is something that I would urge the police chief of Baton Rouge and sheriff to take a close look at to see if there's a better way to staff these assignments," Goyeneche said.

The I-Team asked the East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff for the same information on overtime, but ran into problems when a spokesperson said the initial information the sheriff's office provided the I-Team was inaccurate. Several sets of new figures were then sent to the I-Team. Following a review, the I-Team was not confident the numbers the sheriff's office provided could lead to accurate answers to the I-Team's questions.

"So, right now, you wouldn't be able to tell me how many overtime hours they worked on extra duty detail," Sheriff Sid Gautreaux was asked. "Immediately, no. We can…we could do it, but I can't give it to you like that," Gautreaux replied.

The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office's overtime policy is slightly different from that of the Baton Rouge Police Department. It states, "Employees shall not work more than 18 hours in any 24-hour period without approval," which translates into only six hours of sleep between jobs. The sheriff said he has no way of keeping tabs on the hours his deputies work on a daily basis.

"How do you know they're not working too much overtime?" Gautreaux was asked. "That's being monitored as we speak, because we do feel that we were relaxed in that that some of the deputies were not following the policy and that some of the supervisors weren't following the policies as they should," Gautreaux answered.

The sheriff said after the I-Team asked to look at his agency's overtime records, he realized he had to make some changes, including revising his overtime policy and creating a better system to track his deputies' hours.

"In the future, what will happen is, if a deputy is working more hours than we allow him to in a time period, we will red flag it and we'll know that that deputy is in violation of our policy," Gautreaux said.

The sheriff said he also plans to hire 60 more employees in the New Year, which he believes will significantly cut back on the overtime his current deputies work.

Goyeneche said the adjustments are necessary across the board.

"You cannot be an effective police officer, an effective reporter, if you're consistently working 20 hour days," Goyeneche said.

For a comparison, the I-Team also checked with the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office. The numbers were low compared to BRPD and EBRSO. The Ascension Parish deputy with the highest amount of overtime averaged only nine hours a week.

BRPD OVERTIME

Lt. Cory Reech

2012

Gross Pay: $113,364

Base Pay: $59,714

OT: $53,650

Avg. OT Hours Per Week: 22

Avg. Total Hours Worked Per Week: 62

2013 Jan-June

Gross Pay: $94,127

Base Pay: $29,826

OT: $64,300

Avg. OT Hours Per Week: 53

Avg. Total Hours Worked Per Week: 93

 

Cpl. Arthur Munoz

2012

Gross Pay: $122,753

Base Pay: $51,018

OT: $71,735

Avg. OT Hours Per Week: 34

Avg. Total Hours Worked Per Week: 74

2013 Jan-June

Gross Pay: $63,753

Base Pay: $25,362

OT: $38,391

Avg. OT Hours Per Week: 36

Avg. Total Hours Worked Per Week: 76

 

Cpl. Mickey Duncan

2012

Gross Pay: $116,083

Base Pay: $49,974

OT: $66,109

Avg. OT Hours Per Week: 32

Avg. Total Hours Worked Per Week: 72

2013 Jan-June

Gross Pay: $55,726

Base Pay: $24,175

OT: $31,550

Avg. OT Hours Per Week: 31

Avg. Total Hours Worked Per Week: 71

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