The true cost of policing

New Jersey’s 24,000 police officers earned an average of $123,000 in the pre-pandemic year 2019, according to an exhaustive analysis of payroll records reported here. A big reason was overtime and approved details, such as standing by (usually sitting by) roadway construction and maintenance projects. One police chief added $105,000 to his wages by working the equivalent of 108 extra traffic detail days. One officer’s records indicated he had worked 19 or more hours within a 24-hour period 17 times during the year. Besides the high dollar cost of this situation, experts point out that performance tends to seriously degrade after about 12 hours on duty. Also, some officers “believe they can get no sleep and it’s fine and that it makes them Superman … That’s their own personal belief, but it is not accurate.”

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