Albuquerque Police Lt. Jim Edison earned $242,758 in a one year period from 2020-21 due largely to his personal abuse of overtime opportunities that presented themselves as a result of the COVID pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd. He was able to get away with it because the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) was already notorious for failing to police their own, especially when it comes to overtime abuse, before they were forced to work harder. As a result, Lt. Edison was able to make more than Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller ($125,279) and New Mexico Governor Michelle Grisham ($110,000) combined.
Edison's job was little more than sitting behind a desk in former APD Chief Mike Geier's office where the biggest threat to his safety was papercuts, but rather than rejoice at reaching a level in his career that allowed him to make more than most cops while sitting behind a desk he got greedy. He frequently engaged in what is known as "call out overtime" which involves off duty officers being called back to duty outside of normal working hours. Those officers are paid time and a half as overtime. For instance, if a fellow officer gets caught killing an unarmed black man by kneeling on his neck for over 9 minutes, people react by protesting mostly peacefully, and the riot team gets called up to put them down then any member of the riot squad that was not scheduled to work at that time receives overtime pay. That is why it is better for the law enforcement community as a whole to provoke the public because it just means more overtime for most of them with the limited exception of individual officers that get thrown under the bus from time to time. In this case, Lt. Edison engaged in minor tasks remotely from home before billing the department more hours. For example, Edison would forward voicemails to other officers while off duty before claiming an hour of call out overtime for each call. He did the same thing when responding to emails from home. It seemed Edison's practice was to round up to the nearest hour instead of counting minutes. Then things got worse when he began billing the department multiple hours for minor tasks. His escalated activities included claiming 8 hours of overtime for 7 minutes of work, claiming 10 1/2 hours for 22 minutes of work, claiming 2 hours for simply emailing a spreadsheet to the deputy chief, and countless more from April of 2020 through April of 2021.
Former Chief Geier described Edison's behavior as "creating his own overtime cash register" while current APD Police Chief Harold Medina is playing the role of victim saying that, "Jim Edison deceived Deputy Chief Smathers and Deputy Chief Smathers took accountability for that and was disciplined." Deputy Chief Smathers has not commented publicly on the case other than through a spokesman denying interview requests.
You can learn more about the case in depth in the video below. We would like to thank Pilar Garcia for tweeting us a link to this story (https://twitter.com/UnknwnBeaner117).