TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- An arbitrator has ruled that a Tulsa police officer who was acquitted in an overtime pay scandal must be reimbursed for overtime pay he lost during his 15-month suspension.
Detective Darren Carlock was paid $25,000 in lost wages when he was reinstated to the force after being acquitted in April 1998. He had been charged with five counts of obtaining money by false pretense. The charges involved about $333.
Arbitrator Charles Carnes ruled April 9 that Carlock should be paid an additional $24,000 for lost overtime he would have received, plus $5,000 interest, for the seven-month period when he was suspended without pay.
During those seven months, Carlock was suspended from duty but received his salary and benefits. His suspension status was changed to "without pay" on the day he was bound over for trial on the charges.
Carnes ruled that the suspension without pay violated the collective bargaining agreement between the city of Tulsa and the Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police.
"The charges against Officer Carlock were ludicrous," said FOP attorney Loren Gibson of an Oklahoma City firm. "He has now been cleared by a jury and a neutral arbitrator judge."
Carlock was one of four officers charged in the overtime abuse investigation that Police Chief Ron Palmer began in July 1996 after a supervisor found evidence that at least two officers had falsified the amount of off-duty time they spent in court.
Six other officers were suspended, and 13 received letters of reprimand after the initial investigation. An arbitrator overturned one of those suspensions last year.