The trial of police officer Randall Kerrick and a recent rash of homicides have added more than $120,000 in overtime costs to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department.
CMPD spent $93,400 on overtime during and after the trial in July and August, which ended with the jury unable to reach a verdict and voting 8-4 in favor of not guilty.
The city was concerned about civil unrest during the trial, and especially after it ended. The mistrial was announced on a Friday afternoon, but there were only small protests in and around uptown.
Over Labor Day weekend, there were five homicides over a two-day period, which prompted Chief Kerr Putney to add extra officers on patrol. That has so far cost the city $18,200.
The extra staff has put CMPD, for now, on a pace to spend far more on overtime for fiscal year 2016 than they did in the two previous years.
The fiscal year began in July. For the first two months of the year, CMPD has spent $1.18 million on overtime.
Last fiscal year, CMPD spent $3.6 million on overtime. In fiscal year 2014, the department spent $3.96 million.
That’s down significantly from three years ago, when the department spent $6.7 million on extra time.
CMPD spokesperson Rob Tufano said the Kerrick trial and Labor Day weekend extra staffing were unplanned.
“The department does not budget for these type of events,” he said in a statement to the Observer. “This has to be absorbed by our operating budget.”
During the city’s most recent budget, approved by City Council in June, CMPD helped close a budget gap by cutting its budget by about $204,000. The entire police budget is just under $227 million.
It’s possible an uptick in crime is driving the increased overtime.
By late Wednesday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police had investigated 43 homicides in 2015. That’s one more than officers had investigated in all of 2014, which had a record low number of killings – and there’s still more than three months to go in the year.
For comparison, the overtime bill for the Kerrick trial and the homicides is similar to what CMPD pays for other large events during the city.
The 2015 CIAA basketball tournament cost CMPD $96,300 in overtime. Speed Street was more than $50,000, and the Fourth of July weekend cost nearly $15,000.