Some 70 percent of the Minneapolis Police Department's 780 employees were paid six figures in 2022, surpassing the year before, found an analysis of salary data from a public records request. Sgt. Stephen McBride was the top earner, getting $390,000, more than three times his base salary. He and two other sergeants and an officer logged so much overtime that they surpassed Police Chief Brian O’Hara’s annual salary of $271,721. The increase in pay is mostly due to spiking overtime, News From The States reports. Last fall, the department began paying double time, rather than the traditional time-and-a-half, for “critical staffing overtime," which has been a factor in increasing overtime since it’s often used to cover gaps in staffing. The department has lost hundreds of employees since George Floyd’s police killing three years ago, with additional cops out on disability leave. In 2021, people began suing the city over officers’ conduct during protests, and officers began leaving the force in droves, retiring early, often with claims of post-traumatic stress disorder. That year, then-Chief Medaria Arradondo said the city lost the equivalent of an entire precinct worth of officers, leaving the department unable to respond to violent crimes and property crimes in progress.
O’Hara, who took over last November, rolled back restrictions on overtime ordered by then-Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman to combat the low staffing. Huffman limited overtime for the remainder of 2022, saying she wanted officers to stay healthy and have enough time to recharge. With some exceptions, Huffman’s policy banned officers from working all seven days in a week, working more than 16 hours in a row, or putting in over 74 hours per week. Working too much can lead to fatigue that can “heighten pre-existing biases, increase complaints and use-of-force incidents, impair driving performance and in general lead to impairment of performance of routine skills,” said a 2019 police department audit of off-duty work. O’Hara repealed Huffman’s requirement that employees have at least eight hours off every day and her ban on working more than six days in a row. “Overtime is a part of everyday staffing,” he said. “Overtime is a part of what’s necessary regarding investigations of serious crime and shooting and homicides as they happen. It’s at a consistently high level.” Eventually, O’Hara revoked some of his looser overtime policies under a settlement with the state Department of Human Rights. A judge has yet to sign off on the agreement.