NEWORLEANS-- New Orleans Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux says there's a good reason why the NOPD should follow strict policies when it comes to monitoring daily working limits for its officers.
'The objective of a good time-keeping system is to control over-work, we don't want that to happen, and also to prevent fraud and abuse,' said Quatrevaux.
Quatrevaux audited the NOPD's payroll from December 2012 through April 2013. The audit looked at 90 randomly selected officers. It found:
- Seventeen officers worked more than the 16 hours and 35 minutes a day allowed by the NOPD.
- Fourteen officers worked more than the 32 hours of overtime allowed in a week
- Paid details were not properly documented or approved according to nopd policy
- Three officers worked a total of four paid details during assigned NOPD shifts.
- Quatrevaux says some of the actions may rise to the level of payroll fraud.
'It could be considered that,' he said. 'That's a determination that NOPD will have to make.'
NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas said the inspector general sampled his payroll during a time when the city was experiencing Mardi Gras, Super Bowl and the Woman's Final Four.
'The time frame the inspector general chose to look at, which is his choice, was the busiest time in the history of the New Orleans Police Department, and looking at the fact that we do tens of thousands of payroll entries,' said Serpas.
The police chief said the city was still using an outdated payroll system, and that complicated matters.
'In 2013, we were still using a 30-year-old legacy mainframe system to do payroll, which gave very little for supervisors,' said Serpas. 'It was very difficult to put all the moving pieces together.'
Serpas admits, regardless of the outdated payroll system and busy time of the year, at the end of the day, some of his officers may have in fact, worked too many hours.
'There's going to be some examples where police officers may not have done what they weren't supposed to do. There's going to be examples when supervisors said, look Paul, you can't get off right now, I know you worked 16 and a half hours, but that parade is still on the street corner and you can't go anywhere yet.'
'We're not always going to agree on everything,' said Quatrevaux. 'What we attempt to do is provide objective and fair information and what we see here is, yeah, there is some abuse, particularly the people double charging, is what it amounts to.'
Click here for a link to the full report.