DIA says it's been paying overtime to DPD officers since the airport was built, but it's considering changing the practice to save money.
DIA told 9NEWS it has paid approximately $1.7 million every year in overtime to DPD officers. The proposal would reduce the expense to about $600,000 per year.
"What we're proposing to do is reduce those shifts," Jeff Green, spokesman for DIA, said. "What people pulling up to the airport will see is a blend of uniformed officers working the curb and uniformed security officers. The security officers will handle the flow, making sure people are moving in and out quickly. The uniformed officers will be here for enforcement."
DIA already contracts with security company HSS, to fill in where needed. Some of those officers already work curbside. Green stressed the number of police officers making sure the airport is safe is not being reduced.
"That blend to supplement the work with uniformed security officers represents a tremendous cost savings to the airport," Green said. "We can use that in our overall operating and maintenance budget to invest back into the airport, invest back into the infrastructure."
Lt. Vincent Gavito, the VP of the Denver Police Protective Association, said the proposed change has been brought to the Police Union's attention.
"Our only concern is to make sure there is adequate staffing for the safety of the public and the safety of the officers who work there," Gavito said. "How DIA wants to spend their overtime budget we don't have an issue with, as long as adequate staffing levels are met."
It's a cost-saving measure DIA says it wouldn't even be discussing had it not been considered a safe alternative.
"Safety is our top priority," Green said. "We feel that doing this we can still maintain the same level of safety and security around the airport."
DPD has 117 officers already assigned to work DIA. The department told 9NEWS it is planning to send 16 additional officers to work at the airport.
DIA won't say how many officers work overtime at the curb now and can't say how many overtime positions are proposed to be cut.
Many police officers across the Denver metro area get much of their supplemental income from overtime jobs.
"I'm sure there's plenty of officers that are going to be disappointed, because the overtime is income," Gavito said. "But overtime is never a guarantee with any assignment. But there's always concern when your income is going to be reduced."
DIA says it hopes to make a decision on the proposal at the end of this year or beginning of next.
DENVER - Denver Police officers get paid overtime to work curbside at Denver International Airport.