DPD seeks $15k to cover pandemic overtime costs

Staff Writer
Herald Democrat
The Denison Police Department is seeking $15,000 in state funding to cover overtime expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic and mandatory quarantine for exposed employees.

The Denison Police Department is seeking outside funding to offset the cost of overtime related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The City Council authorized city staff to apply for a $15,000 through the Texas Governor’s Office to help offset the overtime expenses incurred due to quarantined staff since March.

“We have had a number of staff members come in contact with confirmed positive cases in the police department and other city departments, especially early on in the pandemic,” City Manager Jud Rex said Monday.

“We asked those employees to self quarantine for 14 days, so that has a definite impact on our staffing levels and just put us in a position where we could apply for additional funding to cover that.“

To assist cities and municipalities during the pandemic, the governor’s criminal justice division has made funds available to departments that are seeing unexpected overtime costs.

Since the pandemic began earlier this year, more than 750 cases have been diagnosed in Grayson County alone. Of those cases, 150 have been located in the city of Denison.

Due to the risk of infection, the department mandated a 14-day quarantine period for anyone infected or possibly exposed to infection.

According to meeting documents, the Denison Police Department has had nine employees go into mandatory quarantine since March 15. Of those cases, three were quarantined more than once.

No cases of COVID-19 have been positively identified in the department since the start of the epidemic. However, City Manager Jud Rex noted that three city employees have tested positive for the disease.

“Which is pretty good considering we have about 300 full-time employees,” Rex said.

The quarantining of these nine employees has reuslted in 812 hours of missed work. To make up this loss in productivity, the department approved 257 hours of overtime pay.

Currently, the city has estimated this personnel cost at about $7,600, but it is expected to rise.

“As the Coronavirus pandemic continues, we will have more employees that are not only infected but possibly exposed causing more missed work and more funding needed for overtime,” city staff said in Monday’s meeting documents.

Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at mhutchins@heralddemocrat.com.