Las Vegas Sun

October 19, 2019

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Editorial: Overseeing overtime

An ongoing Metro Police internal investigation into possible overtime pay abuses has not only led to the demotion of a deputy chief and administrative leave for a narcotics lieutenant but also raises questions about Metro's overtime oversight.

A story by the Las Vegas Sun on Friday reports that Bob Chinn, deputy chief in charge of homeland security, has been demoted to captain and will be reassigned to head Metro's McCarran International Airport bureau. Lt. Sean Donnelly has been placed on leave pending the outcome of the Internal Affairs investigation that began in February.

The investigation was sparked by accusations that Donnelly inappropriately logged unscheduled , or "callback , " overtime, the Sun reports. Chinn was Donnelly's captain when the abuses allegedly occurred.

Regular overtime is scheduled in advance, but callback time accrues when an officer must perform duties on his days off or is forced to remain after hours. Overtime has no bearing on officers' pensions , but callback time counts toward pensions. A significant amount of callback pay can result in officers retiring with higher pensions.

Donnelly told Sun reporter Abigail Goldman that he is accused of abusing the callback policy because he calls officers to his home so he can review search warrants on his days off. Two judges who routinely review narcotics warrants live near Donnelly, and he says it is only sensible that officers come to his home so warrants can be expedited.

Donnelly has 24 years on the force, and Chinn is a 27-year Metro veteran. Still, Sheriff Doug Gillespie told the Sun, "tenure and popularity do not trump misconduct."

We are glad to hear it, especially in light of Sun stories that have revealed a troubling trend of local government entities that are paying extraordinary amounts of overtime. And we hope Metro's investigation thoroughly probes its dual policy for overtime - which carries significant potential for misunderstandings and outright abuses - to ensure that it contains adequate checks and balances.

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