LAX Airport Police Earn Millions in Overtime at Airport

Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Report: LA airport police earn millions in overtime at airport
The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles International Airport police earned $7.6 million in overtime last year, and three officers each accumulated more than $100,000 worth of additional work, it was reported Tuesday. Four-fifths of the department’s eligible officers worked overtime during the fiscal year that ended June 30, and the average overtime paycheck was $29,000, the Daily Breeze of Torrance reported, citing documents obtained through the California Public Records Act.

The top earner among the 338 officers who received overtime got $135,693.41 for working 2,269.5 additional hours, or an average of 84 hours a week, the newspaper said.

The base pay for airport police officers starts at $50,000.

Airport officials said LAX was at a heightened security level for more than half of the fiscal year.

“The Board of Airport Commissioners is committed to spending what it needs to spend to ensure that California’s No. 1 terrorist target is safe and secure,” commission President Cheryl Petersen said.

The 345-member department is funded from airport operating revenue, which comes from such things as concessions and airline landing fees, and is separate from the Los Angeles Police Department.

Officials said the airport is hiring more officers to ease the burden on current staff, who have been working 10- to 12-hour shifts. In addition, a policy that took effect on Friday limits officer overtime.

Meanwhile, besides the $7.6 million earned by airport police for overtime last year, off-duty city police accumulated $18.6 million for helping out with airport duties.

LAPD officers helped out airport police at passenger screening checkpoints to fulfill a federal mandate. They also made vehicle inspections during heightened terror alerts.

Their overtime pay was covered by the airport and the federal Transportation Security Administration.