Richmond police overtime costs exceed $1.5 million during protest response

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond Police Department estimates that more than $1.5 million was spent on overtime, or roughly a third of what was allocated for this fiscal year, during a month-long span when protests erupted across the city.

The department disclosed the figures after 8News filed a Freedom of Information Act request for overtime spending costs from May 29, the night protests began in response to the death of George Floyd, until June 28.

“The total overtime for the time period you requested was $1,838,577.79 of which $1,511,987.68 was related to the protests. $4,485,532 was allocated for overtime for FY2020,” the FOIA response stated. “There were $7,741,940 in actual expenditures through June 30, 2020.”

Among the late-night police responses: marches through city streets, clusters of crowds around Confederate monuments and now-removed and toppled statues and push-back outside police headquarters.

On several occasions, back-up was called from Henrico and Chesterfield police departments.

8News asked Richmond Police if they requested an increase to what was allocated for overtime this year, and if they plan to do so? We also asked if they will cut back other department expenses to account for the overtime surge? 

A spokesman did not answer the specifics of our questions, responding: “the fiscal year 2020 budget closed June 30. Final numbers won’t be available until August sometime.”

City officials acknowledge some departments, like police, usually spend more than their budgets and others spend less. Budget officials reconcile the difference at the end of each fiscal year — FY 2020 ended on June 30. They say “the city spends, and will continue to spend, the resources necessary to do so.”

In addition, Richmond police “expenditures have exceeded the modified general fund budget for the last two years.”

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