New York manhunt cost nearly $1 million a day in overtime, records show

Story highlights

  • State police and corrections overtime costs during manhunt totaled $22.9 million, state comptroller says
  • Overtime alone came to more than $960,000 a day, records show

(CNN)The New York state police and corrections department spent nearly $1 million per day on overtime in June and July, a period that included the massive 23-day manhunt for a pair of escaped killers, according to the state comptroller.

Inmates David Sweat and Richard Matt staged a dramatic escape June 6 from the maximum-security Clinton Correctional Facility in the upstate town of Dannemora. They eluded a small army of law enforcement officials for weeks in rugged terrain near the Canadian border.
    State police and corrections spent more than $58.6 million on overtime in June and July 2015 -- $22.9 million more than the same time period the previous year, according to state payroll records.
    The overtime costs alone came to more than $960,000 a day, the records show.
    The two agencies spearheaded the manhunt involving more than 1,000 law enforcement officers.
    "The state had the responsibility of tracking down two convicted and dangerous murderers while protecting the public," state police spokesman Beau Duffy said in a statement Saturday.
    "The agencies deployed the resources necessary to get the job done, and as a result, both inmates were caught and not one member of the public or law enforcement was harmed."
    The Vermont State Police, which also participated in the search, spent $84,880 on overtime costs during the manhunt, the agency reported.
    The New York state comptroller's office declined to comment on the payroll records, and the amount spent on expenses such as transportation and food is unclear.
    Andrew Wylie, the district attorney for Clinton County, where the prison is located, in late June said he had been told the search was costing more than $1 million a day, though he added he had not confirmed the figure.
    As many as 1,100 law enforcement officers were involved in the search by late June, more than double the number right after the escape was discovered on June 6. Authorities first estimated that 440 were involved in the search; that grew to 800 by June 13.
    "I don't concern myself with the cost of the search," New York State Police Maj. Charles Guess told reporters in the days before the manhunt ended. "I concern myself with finding the inmates."
    New York State Police took the lead in the search, but other law enforcement involved in the effort included Vermont police, the U.S. Marshals Service, the FBI, state corrections department and local police agencies.
    The heavily forested search area covered 75 square miles, about the size of the New York borough of Brooklyn.
    The two convicted killers cozied up to a prison tailor and a guard who allegedly brought them tools, which they used to cut their way through a labyrinth of multiple barriers and underground passageways. They emerged to freedom through a manhole in the middle of a street.
    Guards discovered them missing during a routine bed check.
    In Pennsylvania last fall, the nearly seven-week manhunt for suspected cop killer Eric Matthew Frein cost state police close to $12 million -- about $700,000 more than originally estimated, CNN affiliate WBRE reported.
    Acting State Police Commissioner Marcus Brown told state lawmakers that $10 million of the costs accounted for personnel expenses, including overtime, according to WBRE.