4/23/2006Houston Police Officers Make Big Money on DUI
Each drunk driving arrest puts money in the pocket of Houston, Texas police officers who boost salaries up to $172,000 a year through overtime.
Police officers in Houston, Texas are earning massive salaries by arresting individuals for drunk driving. As part of a Driving While Intoxicated Task Force, Officer William Lindsey, Jr. earned $172,576 last year -- $7,000 more than the city's mayor, Bill White. Sergeant Edward Robinson made $161,722.
The task force uses state and federal money to pay overtime for operations intended to curb drunk driving. Officers earn one-and-a-half times the normal salary to attend court proceedings or work patrols and roadblocks on days off or long shifts. Lindsey's overtime amounted to $100,000 and Robinson's to $76,055 in 2005. The Houston Chronicle calculated the average salary of the eight task force members at $103,000.
In general, task force officers work late at night, from 9pm to 7am from Wednesday through Saturday. For each arrest, they must make a court appearance where they earn the extra pay. At times, three or four Houston officers will testify during a single drunk driving trial. The state police general practice is to send just one officer to a trial.
"These guys are like small-town speed traps," [Defense lawyer Sam] Adamo said. "Regular officers have to work extra jobs. But these (task force) guys don't have to, because they're making so much money coming down to the courthouse."Source: HPD officer's pay tops $172,000 (Houston Chronicle, 4/23/2006)
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