NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Overtime pay for police in Tennessee's capital city has risen roughly $3 million in recent years and nearly all of the increase can be attributed to on-duty officers working security at special events often run by private organizers, including games of the NFL's Tennessee Titans and minor league baseball's Nashville Sounds.
Metropolitan Nashville Police Department overtime pay increased from $6.1 million in fiscal year 2014 to $9.1 million in fiscal year 2017, The Tennessean reported Tuesday. In some cases, private organizers had paid for special event security, but the cost has now shifted to Metro police.
Nashville's growth as an entertainment destination, and concerns from mass attacks around the world, require more public money to be spent on safety, police Chief Steve Anderson said.
Anderson has requested an additional $2.3 million to cover overtime costs for special events in the next fiscal year. He also approved a policy that took effect April 1 which bars officers from working for private security firms at any event.
Karen Amendola, chief behavioral scientist at the Police Foundation, a national nonprofit that studies police management, said working long hours can fatigue officers and possibly slow their reaction times.
Nashville police union president James Smallwood said many officers have single-income families and depend on overtime. Officers' starting salaries range between $43,000 and $46,000, and those with decades on the job can still earn less than $60,000.