Lower Pottsgrove Reports 104 Police OT Hours in April
LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – Lower Pottsgrove police overtime costs, one of several factors prompting township Board of Commissioners’ concerns in continuing a school resource officer under current contractual terms to the Pottsgrove School District, amounted to $4,221 during April, police department Acting Chief and Lt. William James reported Monday (May 3, 2021).
However, more than 13 percent of overtime hours – representing 22 percent or $945 of the expense total – was incurred in special assignments and will be reimbursed to the township. Police patrol units are being paid by H&K Group Inc., the contractor hired by Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation to replace bridges over U.S. Route 422 at South Park and South Pleasant View Roads, to “calm” 422 traffic as its construction projects continue.
Of the remaining $3276 in April overtime, according to the report (above), $641 was spent on police attendance at court hearings; $185 in conducting or completing arrests; and $1,029 in administrative expenses, much of which related to the final installation of police body-worn cameras and related computer equipment.
It also included $1,420 in Easter holiday pay governed by the collective bargaining agreement between the township and the police officers’ association. This year’s Easter overtime hours were comparable to those of 2020 and 2019, the report shows.
Commissioners have repeatedly said the department is short-staffed by two and occasionally more officers. Their willingness to discontinue the existing school resource officer contract, they say, is based in part on a desire to have more patrols on township streets.
By comparison (above) the department incurred more overtime, 172.5 hours, during April 2019. That total, however, included 16 hours of reimbursable DUI Checkpoint overtime, compared to none last month, and almost twice the amounts of court hearing time, 18.5 hours; and reimbursable special assignment hours, 23.5. Additionally the department in April 2019 paid 18.25 hours for SWAT overtime and 18.75 hours for shift coverage overtime, again compared to none last month.
Department overtime during April 2020 – the first full month of the coronavirus pandemic, when commissioners were told street traffic was substantially reduced and prospective criminals apparently stayed home like everyone else – amounted to only 78.5 hours. No special assignments were conducted last April, and besides the holiday cost the only significant overtime expense was paid for criminal investigations already under way.
The department’s overtime by assignment and overtime comparisons tables have been a regular fixture of its monthly reports for years.