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The City of Portland, Oregon

Auditor Mary Hull Caballero

Promoting open and accountable government

Police overtime audit wins national recognition

Cover of Police Overtime audit reportLEXINGTON, KY -- The 2019 Exemplary Knighton Award for best performance audit in the Large shop category has been awarded to the City of Portland Auditor’s Office by the Association of Local Government Auditors (ALGA).

The report, Police Overtime: Management is lax despite high overtime use, was judged on several key elements, such as the potential for significant impact, the persuasiveness of the conclusions, the focus on improving government efficiency and effectiveness, and its clarity and conciseness.

With police departments facing increased scrutiny throughout the country and Portland facing historically high levels of police overtime, the Portland City Auditor’s office eschewed a traditional approach of looking at overtime that might limit the scope to financial impacts. Instead, the City Auditor produced a report that took a broader overview in illustrating the effects of excessive police overtime, including the impact of officer fatigue as it relates to both job performance and public interaction.

The report also details the lack of controls over overtime assignments and the risks associated with the secondary employment of officers by private entities. To reach their findings, auditors combined disparate data sets to identify and analyze the use of overtime by individual officers and tie it to specific shifts and situations. In the course of its work, the audit team identified a flaw in the daily assignment system that scheduled more officers than required per shift and made recommendations to improve overtime tracking. The audit also made recommendations to limit the amount of overtime that officers can work and to ensure that outside employment of officers was consistent with the Police Bureau’s policies.

Finally, the judges found the audit to be well written and easy to read with many illustrative examples that highlighted the cause and effect of the findings and drew the interest of the reader. You can find a copy of the report here.

Each year, local government audit organizations from around the U.S. and Canada submit their best performance audit reports for judging. The purpose of the competition is to improve government services by encouraging and increasing levels of excellence among local government auditors. Judges from peer organizations determined that this audit was among the best of 2019.

The Association of Local Government Auditors is a national audit association founded in 1985 committed to supporting and improving local government auditing through advocacy, collaboration, education, and training, while upholding and promoting the highest standards of professional ethics.