Des Moines Police Defend Spending Millions for Overtime Pay

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By Rachel Begle

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Police officers in Des Moines collected $11 million in overtime over the past five fiscal years, but city officials defend the total because much of the overtime is unavoidable.

The Des Moines Register reports that responding to major crimes and staffing special events are two of the biggest contributors to overtime, so the cost isn't necessarily a sign more officers are needed.

Experts at the Police Foundation in Washington D.C. question Des Moines' policy of allowing officers to work up to 100 hours in a week. Karen Amendola says allowing officers to work that much threatens safety.

Des Moines officials say it's rare for officers to work anywhere near 100 hours. It's more common for officers to work 60 hours a week on average.

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