The Chronicle‘s Matt Stiles reports today that an HPD officer whose pay exceeded the mayor’s thanks to bonuses has decided to leave the force:
A veteran Houston police officer who made $100,000 in overtime last year has retired amid an internal investigation into his extra pay, department and union officials said Wednesday.
William Lindsey Jr. made the decision in recent days after the department’s internal affairs division asked him to respond to 91 written questions about his overtime, said Hans Marticiuc, president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union.
The Houston Chronicle reported in April that the 27-year veteran earned the six-figure overtime by helping catch suspected drunken drivers at night and testifying in court on overtime during the day.
Lindsey, 50, was reassigned voluntarily in May. He put in retirement papers in the past few days but hasn’t officially left the force, said Sgt. Nate McDuell, a department spokesman.
McDuell said the internal investigation will continue despite Lindsey’s departure. He said the findings could be made public within a few months.
Lindsey was suspended for 15 days in 1990 for submitting false overtime requests.
The Chronicle reported last month that 22 rank-and-file officers made more than $50,000 in overtime last year, and that more than 100 earned six-figure incomes. City Controller Annise Parker, already auditing overtime by sampling compensation across the department, is now focusing more closely on the highest earners.
The Chronicle also reported that a traffic enforcement division commander raised concerns in a memo that some accident investigators participated in an “intentional scheme” to add themselves unnecessarily to court dockets for their own “personal gain.”
We probably need to wait on Controller Parker’s final report on the matter before a final judgment. Given HPD’s well-documented manpower shortage, the overtime scheme may well be defensible. However, it does look odd when a police compensation system boosts some officers’ pay over that of the mayor, and it certainly merits the scrutiny it is getting.