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Want to reduce overtime? Hire more police officers | READER COMMENTARY

Baltimore Police officers form a line at the Inner Harbor on Pratt Street during 2015 protests after the death of Freddie Gray. The department's response to protests contributed to large spending on overtime pay that year, a trend that has continued to some extent, according to a recent city inspector general's report. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun).
Baltimore Police officers form a line at the Inner Harbor on Pratt Street during 2015 protests after the death of Freddie Gray. The department's response to protests contributed to large spending on overtime pay that year, a trend that has continued to some extent, according to a recent city inspector general's report. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun). (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

If police officers give up vacation time to work extra shifts at overtime pay, that’s the fault of the system (”Baltimore police spending: wasteful or strategic? IG report raises questions,” July 8). Apparently, there aren’t enough officers on the force to work all the shifts. So officers who have worked their normal shifts at normal pay end up working extra shifts.

When a person works overtime, that person should be compensated at the overtime rate. If they happen to be on vacation, they shouldn’t lose their vacation pay.

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The way to avoid large outlays for overtime pay is not to try to shame the officers who work the shifts. Just recruit enough officers. Then, police officers wouldn’t need to be asked to work overtime.

You can’t have it both ways. Either recruit enough officers, or bite the bullet and pay the overtime without making a fuss in the newspaper.

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Henry Farkas, Pikesville

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