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Boston Police Department brass ignored 2001 audit of OT No probe after 400 apparent violations

Boston Police Department brass ignored 2001 audit of OT

No probe after 400 apparent violations

By O’Ryan Johnson  |   Thursday, March 24, 2011  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  |  Local Coverage

Boston police brass caught detectives submitting hundreds of questionable courtroom overtime slips 10 years ago — but failed to crack down on the apparent infractions, raising concerns about the department’s current probe of possible rampant OT abuse.

A 2001-2002 Boston Police Department internal affairs audit uncovered almost 400 apparent rules violations on courtroom overtime slips submitted by detectives in the homicide and drug control units, according to a transcript of a 2006 federal civil trial obtained by the Herald.

The results of that audit, as well as the department’s failure to take action, emerged in previously unreported testimony in a civil-rights lawsuit filed by a former Boston police captain over allegations he was fired for uncovering the apparent overtime abuses.

The BPD is currently probing allegations of rampant abuse of courtroom overtime pay. Under their contract, officers automatically earn four hours of pay for a court appearance outside their shift even if it requires less than an hour of their time. Three police officers have been placed on administrative duty, and one is on paid leave.

Police Commissioner Edward Davis, who took over the department in December 2006 — five months after the earlier audit came to light — said his current probe won’t be compromised.

“I intend to provide the community with a police agency that utilizes its financial support efficiently,” Davis said in a statement. “The community can remain confident in our efforts to ensure an effective and well-managed police organization as we move forward serving the City of Boston.”

During the trial of a civil rights suit — filed by former police Captain William Broderick — the then head of the BPD’s internal affairs unit testified that his audit uncovered a wide range of department infractions. Among them:

• Slips for court overtime submitted for weekends and holidays;

• Multiple officers making unnecessary courtroom appearances for the same case;

• And detectives signing their own overtime slips.

The internal affairs head acknowledged these practices had become commonplace in the department, according to the transcript.

“They may be violations, or technical violations, of the rules, but (there were) things that had been allowed,” the superintendent said. “And officers had gotten into certain habits . . . (and) were doing things, but they were doing things with their supervisors’ OK, and the supervisors were doing things with their supervisors’ OK,” the internal affairs head said.

The superintendent also admitted he never launched a corruption probe of the OT infractions as he had earlier vowed.

The trial jury found in Broderick’s favor and awarded him $2.8 million.

“They didn’t do anything about (courtroom overtime abuse),” Broderick’s lawyer, Rosemary Scapicchio, told the Herald. “The only thing they did was fire the guy for exposing it. I find it ironic that all these years later they’re now saying it’s a problem. It isn’t a new problem, its been around for a very long time.”

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1325637

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