You have to be kidding me.....
What is really sad is there are cops in this story who have the arrogance to try to explain to us that scamming on court time is OK!!!
I've said it before here: time for a radical change in how things are done here. A serious cultural change.
or - full text below (part 1 of 2..)
Officers' court time drains scarce resources
By LOU MICHEL and SUSAN SCHULMAN
News Staff Reporters
Police call the technique "collars for dollars," and here's how it works in Buffalo.
One officer buys drugs from a teenager on Congress Street.
A second officer arrests the teenager.
A third checks the teenager's left jacket pocket, a fourth his right jacket pocket, a fifth his pants pocket.
A sixth officer then gathers the six bags of cocaine and $20 the three officers found.
A lieutenant helps.
The arrest sheet lists all seven officers.
When it comes time for the case to go to court, the district attorney has as many as seven officers to call for pretrial conference.
And because the conference is held when some of the officers are off duty, any who attend get a "court time" stipend.
Each time a Buffalo police officer is called to court during off-duty hours, he or she gets a minimum of four hours' pay - or an average of about $116, even if the meeting lasts five minutes.
"I've been hearing those words "collars for dollars' for 30 years, and it makes me sick. It means you're only in it for the money," Deputy Police Commissioner Mark E. Blankenberg said. "It's a very small minority of officers who feel that way, but one is too many."
Last year, 535 officers earned at least $1,000 each in court time, a Buffalo News analysis found.
One officer got more than $32,000. Six others collected more than $20,000. And 25 others received more than $15,000.
Court time - paid above the officer's regular pay - cost the city about $10 million during the past three years, The News found.
Other city police departments don't operate this way. Buffalo pays as much as six to 10 times more for court time than five similar-size city police departments. Much of the court time funds in the Buffalo Police Department go to pay officers who made good arrests and whose testimony is crucial to get convictions.
"So many officers, especially in patrol, are working extremely hard, and if it wasn't for them, many of the bad people wouldn't be taken off the street," said James P. Giammaresi, the department's chief of staff.
"I understand court time is costly to the city, but it's the price of doing business, bringing lawbreakers to justice," added Officer Donald Genovese, a member of the department's elite Gang Suppression Unit.
Milking the system
But some officers milk the system with minor arrests, getting more officers than necessary involved in a case and writing arrest reports with limited details or too much detail - all so they qualify for court time, police and prosecutors said. In addition, some officers routinely ask for pretrial conferences to be rescheduled for when the officer is off duty and eligible for court time, or they tell the prosecuting assistant district attorney they don't "know all of the information," making it necessary to call in other officers, officials said.
Beyond that, the police department's own policies are blamed for inflating court time costs in recent years. The News found:
• A lack of coordination between the Police Department and the Erie County district attorney's office.
• Multiple officers routinely permitted to attend hearings and pretrial meetings. • Day-to-day administration of police court time overseen by a lieutenant, not a member of the police department's non-union management team.
• A negotiated union contract permitting officers to get court time pay on days when they call in sick for regular duty.
"I think the system is broken. Other departments do a better job scrutinizing who goes to court," Giammaresi said.
Police spending is the largest single cost in Buffalo, a city in such bad financial shape that it is laying off employees and shrinking the Police Department under the guidance of a financial control board.
As part of an ongoing review of city finances, The News analyzed Police Department court time - one of the biggest costs in the department beyond base pay.
The review found that, if the Police Department could get its court time in line with other cities, it could save at least $1 million - possibly $3 million - annually.
---see part 2 - continued