Resolve police issues

If a police department is spending $30,000 per week in overtime, this does not seem like a viable long-term strategy.

According to soon-to-retire Nashua Police Chief Andrew Lavoie, this is the case in the Gate City.

“And you know we average about $30,000 a week in overtime. I mean that’s a lot of money. But if we don’t do that, you know, we can’t fill our sectors,” Lavoie said last week during a Budget Review Committee meeting.

Lavoie said his department needs $113,000 more than what Mayor Jim Donchess plans to provide for police via the city’s proposed fiscal 2020 budget. That budget line item shows a planned appropriation of $31.64 million for the police department this year, up from up from the $30.7 million in the budget passed last year.

“We are classically underfunded in our overtime,” Lavoie added.

Lavoie added that a “whodunnit homicide” will cost a minimum of $50,000 or $60,000 in one week alone.

“My people have to get paid and I don’t want to come back here and go, ‘I need more because I couldn’t work with the budget you gave me,”” Lavoie said. “I don’t ever want to do that.”

There are multiple open positions within the police department, which is the major reason for the extreme overtime costs.

We hope city officials find a way to hire more officers to fill the open positions. If Lavoie’s number of $30,000 per week in overtime costs is accurate, this adds up to about $1.5 million per year. Surely, considering this amount, the city can hire some officers to reduce the overtime expenses.