HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — In a recent finding, state auditors found that Connecticut State Police employees “worked excessive amounts of overtime” due to understaffing.
Of 25 employees reviewed, 20 earned more during their overtime hours than in their regular pay shifts — all working an average of 13.4 hours per day for two weeks straight.
It’s an impact that may impact more than pocketbooks.
“You’re not as alert and aware on your 16th hour as you are on the sixth hour,” John Geragosian, the state auditor, said.
During the fiscal years ending on June 30 in 2020 and 2021, 1,375 employees collectively earned more than $84.9 million in overtime.
The average annual salary for the employees listed in the report is $107,645. The auditors found that the employees earned $170,788 in overtime.
The union contract sets parameters at nine hours for a shift, with field personnel working five days on, and then three days off. Overtime is mentioned within the contract’s rules.
Retirement benefits include overtime, which means the costs will have long-lasting impacts on the state.
The auditors also found $123 million in unaccounted assets, including some specifically for law enforcement.
“Some of those issues are really — the tactical vests and things like that — ammunition,” Geragosian said. “That’s really serious to make sure that is properly inventoried.”
In addition, 17 terminated employees still had access to protected information.
Auditors said the law enforcement agency is making corrections. Meanwhile, state police are actively trying to add more troopers.
There are 878 troopers in the state, down from a mandated 1,248. The next class of cadets is set to begin in the spring, but it will still be time before they hit the roads with the badge.
“It’s not like hiring somebody, and a week or two later, they are working for you,” Geragosian said. “The ramp-up time is significant, and you want the training to be intense.”
Open enrollment ends Monday.