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When Oakland, California, police officers are needed at Golden State Warriors basketball games and other special events, Malcolm Miller is the officer in charge of making those assignments. Often, he assigns himself.
As a result, Miller has become one of the highest paid officers in the department. He's earned nearly $2.5 million over the past five years—most of it overtime pay—according to data collected by Transparent California, a watchdog group. Is he abusing his position to cash in, or is he filling important assignments that no one else wants? The answer is unknown, a new audit of the Oakland Police Department claims, because "the special event planning and staffing process is not documented and management provides limited oversight" even though those special events account for 42 percent of overtime hours worked last year.
Miller did not return requests for comment, but he's hardly the only officer to take advantage of poor oversight and a general lack of accountability. According to the audit, 217 officers worked roughly 520 hours of overtime last year, helping to cost the department more than $30 million in overtime pay—about twice as much as had been budgeted. Over the past four years, overtime expenditures have ranged from $28 million to $31 million.
Proper documentation of overtime work was lacking in 83 percent of cases, the auditors found. One officer was paid for more than 2,600 hours of overtime—equal to 108 days of round-the-clock work—in just a single year.
The audit also found that the department "cannot efficiently reconcile between the scheduling and the payroll systems." That is essential to ensuring that paid overtime is accurate, auditors note.
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