Police department accused of overspending in overtime

Imperial Valley

Police department accused of overspending in overtime

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CALEXICO, CALIF. (13 On Your Side) - The heat is on in Calexico. This time - over how much money the police department is spending on overtime.

City council member Maritza Hurtado says the police department has exceeded their overtime budget of almost half a million dollars for the fiscal year 2013-2014. But Police Chief Pompeyo Tabarez says that's not the case.

"Public safety is a priority. However, public safety is a service that must be managed." This is not the first time she has criticized Chief Tabarez. This time - she says its about overtime pay.

"At this point I am alarmed - I am concerned - that there are individuals that are working 50-60 hours of overtime in one week,"says Hurtado.

According to a summary of overtime for the fiscal year 2013-2014, the police department has more than $450,000 in its budget for overtime. As of November 2013, the department exceeded the figure by more than $20,000.

The reason why? "We're missing six officers. Two to the school district, three that left to work for other agencies and one that was promoted to a sergeant position previously allocated by the council," explains Tabarez, "We don't have officers to pay. We're paying the existing officers over time to cover those positions."

But Hurtado claims Calexico just does not have enough money to pay officers. " You can have more officers but you need money to do that."

Even still, Tabarez says the police department has not exceeded its $6,000,000 portion of the city's budget.

"If you put the expenditures on the table, as far as salaries and benefits, and you add the millions of dollars that's received from the federal government in grants - you will see that we haven't gone past the allocated funding."

Chief Tabarez plans on requesting two additional officers within the next three months.

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