Police dig into overtime to ensure safety at schools

(file photo)

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Police in Cranston, Warwick, and Johnston are emptying their overtime budgets this week, but it had to be done in order to ensure the safety of students and teachers at every school.

Armed police officers were posted at each school starting on Wednesday after Johnston police received a handwritten letter threatening physical violence at schools in those communities.

On a typical day in Johnston there are six patrol officers on the road. During the threat, which the letter said involved Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week, an additional ten officers were called in to cover the town’s schools.

Warwick Police Col. Steven McCartney also called in extra officers, and the overtime clock is ticking.

“It is a considerable amount of money, covering 30 officers on 30 details at separate locations, that’s a total of 90 details over a three-day period,” he explained. “They’re being paid at time and a half, so while I don’t have the exact numbers and we won’t be able to calculate that until Monday or Tuesday, it’s going to deplete our overtime budget fairly significantly.”

Cranston is also working to cover 30 schools, but the department isn’t racking as much overtime because they’ve reassigned detectives and administrative staff who were already on the clock to cover the schools. Only two officers in the city were on overtime Wednesday, police said, and on Thursday it was four.

Despite spreading officers to each school, police in all three communities assure that they’re keeping up with their regular patrols and beats.

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