“Plus, any overtime we have, it is for a specific duty. Someone is actually doing something that needs to be done.
“We don’t have guys come in on overtime and sit around and wait for something to happen,” he said, in an obvious reference to the City Fire Department, which has been the focus of budget scrutiny by city officials.
Another major expense for City Police is health insurance. Premiums cost the department $565,860 in 2002. In 2013, the benefit will cost nearly $2 million.
Police officers pay 15 to 25 percent of their health-care premiums, depending on their title and length of service, a change that was negotiated into the contract three years ago.
Payments to the Retirement System, which are set by the state, have also risen dramatically in the budget. In 2002, retirement costs for the Police Department were $31,505. In 2013, they will be nearly $1 million.
For the whole city, the contribution to the state plan has gone from $17,700 in 2000 to more than $3 million per year.
Payments to the state system for uniformed public-safety employees, such as police officers and firefighters, cost more because of the dangers associated with the job.
City Police officers work 12-hour shifts that start and end at various times.
“We obviously don’t need as many guys at 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning as we do at 2 a.m. on a Saturday morning, so we arrange the shifts to give us the best coverage for certain periods of time,” Racicot said.
While the city has a population of just under 20,000, it grows during the day as residents from outside arrive for work and business, requiring more police presence, the chief said.
Officers come in 30 minutes before a shift begins so they can get ready. In addition to suiting up with body armor, weapons and other utility tools, officers must make sure they have all their communication and information assets ready to go.