Overtime abuse at the BPD
Some of the kings and queens of police overtime in Baltimore
Large houses in the suburbs. A 535% overtime boost. Low productivity. Some of the findings of our investigation. (Part 3 of 4)
Above: The gold-reflecting Bishop L. Robinson Sr. Police Administrative Building on East Fayette Street. (Mark Reutter)
Who in the Baltimore Police Department earns the most from overtime? How much did officers who have been in the news – including the Gun Trace Task Force officers – pull down?
This spreadsheet – 60 Officers with High Overtime FY 2012-17 – compiled by Baltimore Brew from the city’s Open Baltimore website, includes the earnings of 60 police officers with some of the biggest overtime pay totals between fiscal years 2012 and 2017.
Eight of them are profiled below, using additional information from land records, news reports and Judiciary Case Search.
• The same officers tend to get large amounts of overtime year after year.
• The biggest amounts of overtime go to veterans with 15 to 25 years of seniority.
• Because younger patrol officers have low base salaries, they make a fraction of the overtime paid to those profiled below.
• There is no correlation between overtime and arrests. The biggest recipients of overtime appear to be officers who do little street patrol or are administrators of specialized units.
BPD’s response to this series:
The police department requires reporters to make all inquiries through its Media Relations Office.
We requested information about the specific tasks performed by the officers below that could explain their high overtime payments. We also requested information about their current and past assignments.
“This would amount to an MPIA [Maryland Public Information Act] request,” chief spokesman T.J. Smith responded, declining to provide answers and forwarding our questions to “the Document Collections Unit.”
The Brew copied its request for overtime information to Mayor Catherine Pugh’s media office. We have received no response. We have attempted to reach the officers mentioned, leaving messages where possible and – except for Makanjuola and Swinton – who declined to be interviewed, have received no response.
Million Dollar Man
RAFIU T. MAKANJUOLA:
2017 total pay – $206,320
2017 base vs. overtime – $82,326/$123,994
2012-17 total pay – $1,057,094
2012-17 base vs. overtime – $437,034/$620,060
Makanjuola is an ordinary Baltimore patrol officer with an extraordinary amount of overtime pay.
In 2017, the $123,994 he earned in overtime, on top of his $82,326 base pay, meant he finished the year with $206,320.
Over the last six years, the Eastern District officer has racked up more than $600,000 in overtime.
Combined with his regular pay, the 52-year-old earned more than anyone else in the police department or in City Hall (including the mayor and other elected officials) between 2012 and 2017 – $1,057,094.
Makanjuola’s overtime comprised 59% of his total pay, which translates into average 75-hour work weeks – far beyond the hour limits of truck drivers or railroad engineers.
In the last two years, when his overtime pay came to $235,224, he made about 40 arrests or less than two arrests a months, according to Maryland Judiciary Case Search.
Nearly all of the arrests involved misdemeanors, including a “rogue and vagabond” charge against a 27-year-old homeless man and the arrest of a middle-aged couple for “gaming, cards, dice, etc.” (They were fined $45 in court costs).
Last February, Makanjuola paid off a $464,000 mortgage on his Baltimore County home.
Makanjuola returned a call from a Baltimore Brew reporter seeking an explanation for the high overtime. “Thank you, have a nice day,” he said, hanging up.
Overtime for a Married Couple
2017 total pay – $200,452
2017 base vs. overtime- $95,689/$104,763
2012-17 total pay – $964,212
2012-17 base vs. overtime – $501,269/$462,943
2017 total pay – $188,554
2017 base vs. overtime – $111,880/$76,674
2012-17 total pay – $786,751
2012-17 base vs. overtime – $551,739/$235,012
Since 2012, this couple – a sergeant and lieutenant with a combined 51 years on the Baltimore police force – has been paid $697,955 in overtime.
That overtime, combined with their regular police salaries, adds up to earnings of more than $1.7 million over the past six years, according to payroll records.
A sergeant assigned to the Evidence Control Unit (ECU) downtown, Kimberly Swinton has racked up enormous overtime while not serving as an arresting officer in a criminal case since May 29, 2013, according to Judiciary Search. (Back then, she hauled in a 29-year-old suspected of burglary, a case that resulted in a one-year suspended sentence.) She returned a call from Baltimore Brew, but declined to be interviewed.
Dwayne Swinton is a detective who was just promoted to captain of the Southwestern District by incoming Commissioner Darryl De Sousa. He filed his last criminal case in August 2013 (it involving attempted second-degree murder).
In 2013, the Swintons refinanced their 7,500-square-foot home – on a three-acre lot in Harford County – that they purchased for $930,000, according to county land records.
Barred from Court, but not from OT
2017 total pay – $195,262
2017 base vs. overtime – $83,759/$111,503
2012-17 total pay – $890,559
2012-17 base vs. overtime – $440,093/$450,466
In 2004, Officer Clarence Grear made local headlines when he and a fellow Southern District officer were accused of perjury. State’s Attorney Patricia Jessamy was forced to drop more than 100 court cases associated with Grear, including a murder trial involving an alleged drug kingpin.
Since then, Grear has not only survived an internal investigation to stay on the force, but has thrived as one of the biggest overtime recipients in the police department.
Earning $48,812 in overtime in 2014, Grear pulled in over twice that amount last year ($111,503), despite having been on the state’s attorney’s “do not no call” list of officers whose courtroom testimony is considered problematic.
He has been an arresting officer in just two cases since 2004. One involved firearms possession and the other trespassing. Last July, he and his wife purchased a new house in Prince George’s County for $626,765.
Onetime Casino Cop
2017 total pay – $169,129
2017 base vs. overtime – $106,859/$62,270
2012-17 total pay – $779,762
2012-17 base vs. overtime – $561,425/$218,337
Lt. Steven M. Bagshaw ran the Horseshoe Casino Mini District set up by the BPD in 2012 (which was funded mostly with community impact funds).
That is, until last May 29 when police disclosed in charging documents that Bagshaw was not only failing to work his overtime shifts, but sometimes never showed up for regular-hour duty.
Bagshaw will get his day in Circuit Court next month on charges of theft, misconduct in office and unauthorized removal of city property (allegedly he used a police vehicle to commute back and forth from his $400,000 house on the Eastern Shore).
His overtime was relatively modest before he became boss of the casino mini-district ($17,378 in 2013), then more than tripled to $64,299 in 2016.
According to the May 2017 charging documents, Bagshaw was billing BPD for unworked overtime just days before he was arrested.
WILLIAM HARRIS JR.
2017 total pay – $244,913
2017 base vs. overtime – $97,309/$147,604
2012-17 total – $1,056,262
2012-17 base vs. overtime – $520,665/$535,597
Lt. Harris is the second best-paid employee in Baltimore City government, earning a total of $1,056,262 between 2012 and 2017 (about $1,000 less than Makanjuola).
Hired in 2000, Harris started as a detective, making scores of narcotics arrests until 2006, when his name disappeared from the court blotter. He eventually became a SWAT team lieutenant and was awarded a bronze star for meritorious service in 2016.
Harris’ overtime earnings have tripled over the last few years. Paid $45,311 in OT in 2013, Harris pulled in $141,847 in 2016 and $147,605 last year, according to city payroll records.
Translated into hours, the police department has been paying Harris for 14-hour days consistently for several years. By assigning a junior officer to assist Harris (and additionally allow him time to rest), the department could cut these overtime costs in half.
Overtime was 60% of his total FY2017 salary of $244,914.
535% Increase in OT
2017 total pay – $203,130
2017 base vs. overtime – $102,633/$100,497
2012-17 total pay – $868,666
2012-17 base vs. overtime – $489,523/$379,143
Northwestern Police District’s new captain, appointed by Commissioner De Sousa, has been out of the fray of a district station for many years.
Assigned to central records, she has basically acted as a librarian for warrants. She was listed in Judiciary Case Search as an arresting officer in just 10 cases over the last six years.
During that time, her salary rose 43%, largely due to promotions, while her overtime pay soared by 535% ($15,825 in 2012 vs. $100,497 in 2017).
Thanks to salary hikes and overtime payments, Brickus has become one of Baltimore’s best paid civil servants.
Her gross pay of $203,130 in FY17 was $30,000 more than the mayor’s.
Fruits of Overtime
2017 total pay – $160,746
2017 base vs. overtime – $84,472/$76,274
2012-17 total – $995,326
2012-17 base vs. overtime – $448,757/$546,569
Officer Pitocchelli was one of the first women to go through the police academy and she has since been posted in just about every police district.
In 2012, 2013 and 2014, she earned $268,905 in overtime, while filing just 21 cases in the court system. (Currently, she works as a vice detective at the Criminal Investigation Division, a sprawling bureaucracy of hundreds of sworn officers.)
Subsequently, in 2015, 2016 and 2017, she garnered another $277,665 in OT, while filing five cases (two involving the same suspect).
Federal prosecutors dropped a heroin-conspiracy case in 2014 because Pitocchelli and another BPD officer gathered evidence through an unconstitutional warrantless search of the suspect’s garbage. (“Boys In Blue Blow It” was the headline in City Paper.)
Last June, Pitocchelli sold her Owings Mill condo for $128,000 and, a month later, bought a $640,000 house in Carroll County, according to MDLandRec.net.
– Fern Shen contributed to this story.
Baltimore Brew’s series on Baltimore Police overtime
Part 1 – “House cats” and “g-days”: A look at the overtime culture at the Baltimore Police Department (2/20/18)
Part 2 – Lieutenants and sergeants lead the overtime parade (2/20/18)
Part 3 – Some of the kings and queens of police overtime in Baltimore (2/21/18)
Part 4 – Baltimore Police overtime data – two spreadsheets (2/23/18)