Biloxi increases police department's OT budget

Biloxi increases police department's OT budget

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Overtime issues shouldn't be as big of a problem for the Biloxi Police Department for the remainder of this fiscal year. The Biloxi City Council approved more than $200,000 for the department to use toward overtime pay.

In a tourism driven economy, festivals and events happen on a weekly basis. To ensure a safe environment, police presence is appreciated.

"All the events that we have in Biloxi are great. It's great for the economy, but it's an awful lot of overtime that we have to expend," said Police Chief John Miller.

Going into the 2015 fiscal year, the city cut the police department's budget by $350,000. Miller says when that happened, he knew he would be back for more.

"I feel terrible about having to ask the city for another $211,000 for overtime. However, there's not really a lot I can do about that," said Miller.

Just six months into the fiscal year, the department has already used 73 percent of its overtime budget, manning events like Cruisin' the Coast and Mardi Gras. Next, is Black Beach Weekend, and Miller is estimating $41,000 will be needed for overtime pay.

"This weekend, plus the air show, things that we've had before that they will reach that 171 hours, so they will go into overtime," said Miller.

The council voted unanimously for the department to receive a sum of $211,610 to go toward overtime pay for the remainder of the year and departmental training.

"Wherever there's a crowd, there's always excitement and there's always a problem. There's always going to be that one bad apple that we've got to be prepared for. Traffic is going to be an issue. The more people, the more vehicles, so policing, like I said, is essential," said Ward 4 Councilman Robert Deming.

Council members say because revenue is up in the city, the money will come from the city's general fund.

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