I posted last month about how some DUI cops intentionally make false arrests so that the cases will go to trial — resulting in a lot of overtime pay. An example was given of the Houston Police Department, where some DUI cops were making more than top city and department officials — one pulling in $172,000 a year. When confronted with the facts, department officials brushed the issue aside as simply "aggressive law enforcement".
Apparently, the fraudulent nature of the practice was not unkown to the administration at the time of the story — nor was it limited to DUI officers. The following is from Tuesday’s Houston Chronicle:
‘05 Memo Told HPD Chief of
Captain reported officers scheduled court appearances for personal gain
A Houston police commander alerted Chief Harold Hurtt last year that officers were manipulating court appearances to rake in extra overtime, according to a memo obtained by the Houston Chronicle.
The two-page letter, released under the Texas Public Information Act, states that accident investigators participated in an "intentional scheme" to add themselves unnecessarily to court dockets for their own "personal gain."
"This practice, in my view, is costing the Department tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary court overtime expenses," wrote Capt. Michael Luiz, a 25-year veteran who supervises the Traffic Enforcement Division.
Police overtime has come under increased scrutiny since the Chronicle reported last month that a senior officer, William Lindsey Jr., was paid $100,000 last year working DWI cases, pushing his total pay over $170,000. The Chronicle also reported that more than 20 officers and sergeants were paid at least $50,000 in overtime during 2005, and that 122 of them made six-figure total pay.
Department officials have characterized the overtime as the unavoidable result of specially trained, aggressive officers making traffic stops or DWI arrests and then earning overtime at later court hearings. The Luiz memo, sent to Hurtt in January 2005, is the first indication that a high-ranking police official had concerns otherwise…
Hurtt and other police commanders who received copies of the memo did not respond Monday to requests for interviews. Luiz declined to comment.