Over the holidays, I did what many of you did – I went Christmas shopping for my family. While at Scheels and Dillard’s (Chapel Hills Mall location) in December, I saw something that caught my eye. Both stores had uniformed Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) officers standing guard at their doors. At Scheel’s, the CSPD even had a reserved parking spot for CSPD vehicles.
While leaving Dillard’s, I asked a CSPD officer acting as a security guard how often CSPD stands guard at the store, and she told me the protection is 5 days a week. I asked her if she does overtime for CSPD and she said she could when offered. That doesn’t match what CSPD Chief Adrian Vasquez told city council members at the November 28th city council meeting.
Chief Vasquez said getting more officers on the streets is, “…a staffing issue, not a budget issue.” He reported that officers aren’t clamoring for more overtime right now and that they’re being pushed to their limits. He said that having a huge pot of overtime money assumes that you’ve got officers who aren’t tired right now and that officers are working more overtime than they want.
Watch his comments here.
City Councilman Dave Donelson pressed Chief Vasquez on the overtime matter. Donelson wanted to ensure that the CSPD had the funding for overtime hours, as well as pay raises. Chief Vasquez assured Donelson that $4.4 million was enough overtime funding and the department would use as much of the overtime budget as needed to ensure public safety.
So why are officers being rented out to private retail establishments and corporations amid an 80-officer staffing shortage with plentiful overtime funding to patrol Colorado Springs streets?
Most citizens can’t get a police officer to take a report about a stolen car or to stop the dangerous street racing in neighborhoods. There is a lack of police presence all over the city. Also, CSPD response times have increased over the past few years. If CSPD leadership can’t take care of its citizens under current under-staffed conditions, they have no business renting them out.
What is Extra Duty Time?
According to the Colorado Springs Sworn Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual, CSPD officers are allowed to work extra hours for private employers, which isn’t a part of their regular work hours or overtime hours. It’s called Extra Duty Time. The mayor sets the pay rate and the city may include an administrative fee for the protection. The average officer pay for Extra Duty Time is $75/hour. You can find the manual here.
Here are a couple of snippets from the manual:
Extra Duty Time
- Extra Duty Time for the City includes time worked for the city in response to internal requests from various Departments, not for private employers. Extra Duty Time for the City is paid at time and a half and is not included in Hours Worked.
- Extra Duty Time for private employers is time charged to outside agencies that want to hire extra duty Police Officers. The fee for this Extra Duty Time is set by the mayor annually. Extra Duty Time for private employers is not included in Hours Worked.
Where did CSPD officers work Extra Duty Time in 2023? Here are some of the biggest utilizers of the 18,589 Hours worked by officers:
- Walmart Store 1434 2592.65 Hours
- Focus on the Family 2219.75 Hours
- Scheels All Sports 2029.77 Hours
- Walmart Store 1200 1984.72 Hours
- Dillard’s Colorado Springs 1626.22 Hours
- Broadmoor World Arena 1114.28 Hours
- The Vanguard School 689 Hours
- Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 582.33 Hours
- The Summit at Interquest 479.94 Hours
- Dillard’s Store 504 429.15 Hours
- Colorado College Athletics 358.67 Hours
- Colorado College Campus Patrol 333.63 Hours
- Community at Spring Creek HOA 307 Hours
- The Citadel Mall 297.5 Hours
- University Park HOA 278 Hours
- Summit Off Duty- Kinder Morgan 244 Hours
- Peregrine HOA 213.25 Hours
- National Gymnastics Booster Club 208.75 Hours
- Sierra Pointe HOA 130 Hours
We asked CSPD Public Relations Manager Ira Cronin some questions about the Extra Duty Time Contract and Program. Cronin said the contracted third-party vendor, Extra Duty Solutions, makes known to CSPD officers the “needs” in the community that are available to sign up for. Extra Duty Solutions invoices the hiring business, which in turn pays the officers directly, pays the police vehicle funds back to the city, and keeps any other admin fees it collects. Neither CSPD nor the city receives other funds from the extra duty program.
When you don’t have enough officers to patrol streets for citizens, you don’t rent them out elsewhere to protect “stuff”. Period.
Mayor Yemi Mobolade needs to take a close look at what’s going on in the CSPD. This recent news report shared that there are serious morale and culture problems there. Chief Vasquez should be looking out for his officers. He should be fighting for more pay raises and overtime hours for his officers to serve and protect the citizens of Colorado Springs. Instead, he supported cuts to the CSPD budget and overtime funding for 2024. This won’t end well for Colorado Springs, as our big city problems continue to grow.
Colorado Springs is increasingly plagued by traffic problems and crime. Our taxpayer dollars pay to train the CSPD officers. We pay their salaries and benefits. They are a taxpayer resource. The mayor, city council, and CSPD leadership owe it to the citizens of Colorado Springs to protect us first. Let retail stores solve their own theft issues.
Additionally, the homeowner’s associations need to get in line with every other neighborhood experiencing crime and needing police patrols. The colleges and event centers need to work out their own security details. Sounds like an excellent opportunity for private security and loss prevention businesses to expand in Colorado Springs!
Reach out to the Mayor and City Council and ask them if your safety is their priority. Ask them why they are renting out CSPD officers to private businesses, event venues, and neighborhood homeowners associations instead of having the officers patrol Colorado Springs streets, especially during this time of professed staffing shortages.
Mayor Yemi Mobolade email@example.com
Yolanda Avila Yolanda.Avila@coloradosprings.gov
Lynette Crow-Iverson firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Donelson Dave.Donelson@coloradosprings.gov
Randy Helms Randy.Helms@coloradosprings.gov
Nancy Henjum Nancy.Henjum@coloradosprings.gov
David Leinweber email@example.com
Mike O’Malley Mike.OMalley@coloradosprings.gov
Brian Risley firstname.lastname@example.org
Michelle Talarico email@example.com