The Chicago Police Department’s overtime spending has grown nearly every year since 2012, and fraud and abuse prompted Chicago’s Office of the Inspector General to audit the department’s overtime practices in 2017. The audit revealed practices such as officers improperly extending their tours or abusing Court overtime, and that the department lacked adequate controls and oversight. Despite the audit, spending continued to climb, and in 2020 the department spent a record $177 million on overtime.
Grantees Jim Daley and Kiran Misra analyzed 2020 spending and oversight for South Side Weekly, providing a monthly breakdown that showed when overtime spending was earned and who the highest earners are. Their investigation also revealed that officers who served a warrant to the wrong address in 2019—a scandal that reached the mayor’s office—earned overtime for the raid. The police department effectively denied several Freedom of Information Act requests for overtime data, email communications, and other records from 2020, and the newspaper has filed a lawsuit to obtain them.