Police overtime is one way that an officer's pay will increase above and beyond their annual salary.
Some guys love the overtime, others don't. There's different reasons for it, and we'll get to that later on down the page...
First of all, there's not a lot of jobs out there where you can make overtime. Office jobs in corporate america? Forget it. Retail? No.
But, certain occupations, such as paramedics and the police certainly do. It's because there is no way of guaranteeing that they can end their shift and go home when they are scheduled to.
In any emergency services occupation, you never know what can happen, and sometimes when you are nearing the end of your shift, you have to respond to serious calls. If you're stuck on
one of these calls, you have to grind it out and do your job.
Sometimes that means completing it from start to finish. Sometimes it means that another officer will come and relieve you of your task so that you can go without being held too too long.
But, make no mistake about it, if you are becoming a cop, this WILL HAPPEN. You will at times get overtime whether you like it or not...
How does police overtime happen? Well, you get scheduled to work either a dayshift or nightshift.
You might start at 07:00 hours and be scheduled to work until 19:00 hours (If your department uses 12 hour shifts)
Now, some of the night guys may have a 18:00 start until a 06:00 finish, and some of them will have a 19:00 start to 07:00 finish. It's an overlap to make sure that there are always officers out on the road.
If something big happens, for example a Robbery, say at 17:50 hours, you're going to go to that call. There's lots to do at a call like that, so you can be sure that you're going to be there
until the end of your shift and beyond.
Now maybe you're probably thinking, well the 18:00 start guys will come and help me...
Hopefully you're right. But remember, things never work out exactly how you want (well, not often anyways.)
Maybe the 18:00 start gets briefed on what is happening, come out from the station house to help,and all of a sudden, the radio crackles to life and now there's a shooting, or a stabbing,
or some other major calls that sends all of the 18:00 cars in different directions.
Guess what. You're going to be on overtime. Maybe a lot of it, maybe only a bit depending on circumstances which include the availability of other officers. And trust me, this WILL HAPPEN.
Some officers love the overtime. Especially if they don't have any family responsibilities.
Why sit around at home if you can make some overtime?
Others will obviously hate it. If you have family, kids, or some other commitments after work, the overtime can really screw with your plans.
Usually police overtime is paid at a rate of 1 and a half times of your hourly wage. So, for the sake of simplicity, if you were getting paid at a rate of $24 an hour, your one hour of overtime
would be the equivalent of $36. But that doesn't mean that you necessarily get paid in cash.
You may be able to request the payment into a time bank.
A time bank is a bank which you use to collect overtime hours or off duty court hours. These collected hours can be used by officers to get a "day off".
Everyone is different. Some officers may want the cash payment, others may want to have next Saturday's shift off because they have plans.
So, there are usually some options on how you deal with the overtime, but be aware that it really can't be avoided if you are out there patrolling the streets.
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